Daniel Kehlmann Review Consensus: No consensus, but the majority of opinion is decidedly negative -- and very many use the words "self-indulgent" From the Reviews: "His is a short work, and one cannot ask for a complete theory of modern ideology and the various deathtraps it sets for the body and the mind. But the transition from macro- to micro-humanity is uneasy at its best. The awful, unutterable reality of what happened under Stalin -- and under Hitler--is strangled in a childish conceit. The third and closing section of this book is like a diary, the random notes of a self-indulgent author.

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Start your review of Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million Write a review Shelves: non-fiction , biography , history , reviewed , russian-soviet-history , read-in There has never been a regime quite like it, not anywhere in the history of the universe.

To have its subjects simultaneously quaking with terror, with hypothermia, with hunger and with laughter. The first jokes about communism in Russia have surfaced almost immediately after the Revolution of In one, an old woman visits the Zoo in Moscow and upon seeing a camel for the first time laments: "look what the Bolsheviks did to that horse!

To have its subjects simultaneously quaking with terror, with hypothermia, with hunger — and with laughter. Usually the jokes made fun of various shortages and inefficiencies What is colder than cold water in Moscow during the winter?

Hot water , and most of the time were pretty grim and ominous: two Russians are walking down the street in Moscow, and the first one asks: "is this it?

Have we finally achieved full communism? Things still have to get much worse". Despite the joke-inspiring absurdities the system itself was no joke, and carried out immense terror in the name of social justice with great precision.

Terror in Russia was carried out against "counter-revolutionaries" from the very beginning, with cruelty matched only by the Spanish Inquisition, and harvested tens of thousands of victims - but it was just a prelude to Stalinism, whose victims were counted in tens of millions.

Staling purged Soviet elite and society of any element which might have challenged his rule - no party member, army official and regular comrade could feel safe.

On his order entire nations have been deported from their homelands to distant, remote regions, hundreds of thousands dying en route. The main gist behind the book is a simple one - where is the outrage? Everyone knows what the Holocaust is and who died in it, but who remembers the millions of Ukrainians, Russians and other ethnicities who were systematically starved to death - in peacetime?

In Russia, popular opinion about Stalin remains mixed; A pool revealed that over a half of surveyed Russian considered Stalin to be a wise leader; in an earlier poll over one third of the respondents would vote for Stalin were he alive today.

These are mostly people who were born and grew up decades after Stalin was long dead but not only - among the nation his crimes are only dimly remembered, like a fever dream which it has half-forgotten upon waking up to its normal life.


Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million






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