The Unquiet Ghost: Russians Remember Stalin

Adam Hochschild, Author Viking Books $22.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-670-84091-5
Hochschild spent the first half of 1991 in the former Soviet Union interviewing gulag survivors, former camp guards and members of the secret police, writers, artists, human rights activists, neo-Stalinists and ordinary citizens about their opinions of Stalin. This haunting and powerful report reveals that the dictator's legacy persists in widespread denial, amnesia, numbness and pervasive fear among people whose lives were scarred by mass arrests, killings and Stalin's spy network. Hochschild ( The Mirror at Midnight ) traveled to Kolyma, site of the deadliest camps; he interviewed Valentin Berezhkov, who was Stalin's English-language interpreter and privy to the regime's inner circle; he visited Moscow's KGB archives and was given files of American victims of the gulag. Comparing Stalin's purges to the witch craze of early medieval Europe, Hochschild attributes this ``self-inflicted genocide'' partly to Russians' age-old habits of scapegoating and passive obedience. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to New York Times Magazine . (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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