Koba The Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million

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9780099438021: Koba The Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million

Koba the Dread is the successor to Amis's celebrated memoir, Experience. It addresses itself to the central lacuna of twentieth-century thought: the indulgence of communism by Western intellectuals. In between the personal beginning and the personal ending, Amis gives us perhaps the best one hundred pages ever written about Stalin: Koba the Dread, Iosif the Terrible.

The author's father, Kingsley Amis, was 'a Comintern dogsbody' (as he would come to put it) from 1941 to 1956. His second-closest, and later in life his closest friend, was Robert Conquest, whose book The Great Terror was second only to Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago in undermining the USSR. Amis's remarkable memoir explores these connections.

Stalin said that the death of one person was tragic, the death of a million a mere 'statistic'. Koba the Dread, during whose course the author absorbs a particular, a familial death, is a rebuttal of Stalin's aphorism.

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Review:

Koba the Dread is a book about Stalin and the past and present culpability of intellectuals rather than a personal memoir. It's personal to Amis because his father Kingsley became a card-carrying Communist in 1941 and remained so for 15 years: along with the majority of intellectuals everywhere he chose the big Stalinist lie over the truth. The only reasonable excuse for believing the Stalinist story, Amis suggests, is perhaps that "the real story-–the truth—-was entirely unbelievable". The bulk of the book is taken up with the real story of Stalinism and--given the powerful subject matter and Amis's literary skill--one shouldn't be surprised to hear that it makes for a riveting read. Even if you are already familiar with the story the facts still stagger the imagination.

As well as being an indictment of the woolly-minded utopianism of his father's generation, the book is a direct challenge to the lingering romanticism that, even today, attaches itself to Bolshevism, to Lenin, and in particular to Trotsky. That challenge comes in the form of a splendid letter--in the final, personal section of the book--to his long-time friend Christopher Hitchens. In it, he reminds his friend "Comrade Hitchens" that "Bolshevism presents a record of baseness and inanity that exhausts all dictionaries" before confessing his confusion as to "why you wouldn't want to put more distance between yourself and these events than you do, with your reverence for Lenin and your unregretted discipleship of Trotsky".

The myth Amis wants to quash is the idea that the "real" revolution was lost with the death of Lenin, the murder of Trotsky and the liquidation of the Bolshevik old guard. Any "differences between the regimes of Lenin and Stalin were quantitative, not qualitative" and, as individuals, Lenin was a "congenital moral imbecile" while Trotsky's smattering of literary talent concealed "a murdering bastard and a fucking liar" who got what he deserved. They were nun-killers all and they did it with gusto. The final verdict, the final indictment, is that under Bolshevik rule--under Lenin as well as Stalin--"the value of human life collapsed".

It's a curious fact that Robert Conquest--the man who wrote the definitive account of the Stalinist purges while many intellectuals were still in denial--was a personal friend of the Amis family. Conquest's The Great Terror is still the source to visit if want the full story whereas Koba the Great is a short book packed with the most interesting and shocking facts about the Stalin era, with a thoughtful and often persuasive personal commentary from Amis. --Larry Brown

Review:

"A powerfully written, well-documented polemic reminding us of how 20 million humans were starved, murdered or totured to death by Uncle Joe" ( Daily Mail)

"More than any of his contemporaries, Amis writes things that you want to remember and repeat: he is original" ( New Statesman)

"Amis uses all the tricks of his well-mastered trade to make readable what is almost unreadable, indeed hardly bearable... A disturbing book...but a book I was very glad to have read" ( Financial Times)

"Martin Amis' book will not date...it is wise, witty and saturated with saeva indignatio, the only adequate response to tyranny" ( Literary Review)

"What's best about him is his style. He is never dull" (John Carey Sunday Times)

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 192 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Koba the Dread is the successor to Amis s celebrated memoir, Experience. It addresses itself to the central lacuna of twentieth-century thought: the indulgence of communism by Western intellectuals. In between the personal beginning and the personal ending, Amis gives us perhaps the best one hundred pages ever written about Stalin: Koba the Dread, Iosif the Terrible. The author s father, Kingsley Amis, was a Comintern dogsbody (as he would come to put it) from 1941 to 1956. His second-closest, and later in life his closest friend, was Robert Conquest, whose book The Great Terror was second only to Solzhenitsyn s The Gulag Archipelago in undermining the USSR. Amis s remarkable memoir explores these connections. Stalin said that the death of one person was tragic, the death of a million a mere statistic . Koba the Dread, during whose course the author absorbs a particular, a familial death, is a rebuttal of Stalin s aphorism. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099438021

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 192 x 130 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Koba the Dread is the successor to Amis s celebrated memoir, Experience. It addresses itself to the central lacuna of twentieth-century thought: the indulgence of communism by Western intellectuals. In between the personal beginning and the personal ending, Amis gives us perhaps the best one hundred pages ever written about Stalin: Koba the Dread, Iosif the Terrible. The author s father, Kingsley Amis, was a Comintern dogsbody (as he would come to put it) from 1941 to 1956. His second-closest, and later in life his closest friend, was Robert Conquest, whose book The Great Terror was second only to Solzhenitsyn s The Gulag Archipelago in undermining the USSR. Amis s remarkable memoir explores these connections. Stalin said that the death of one person was tragic, the death of a million a mere statistic . Koba the Dread, during whose course the author absorbs a particular, a familial death, is a rebuttal of Stalin s aphorism. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099438021

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Book Description 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 129mm x 198mm x 20mm. Paperback. Koba the Dread is the successor to Amis's celebrated memoir, Experience. It addresses itself to the central lacuna of twentieth-century thought: the indulgence of communism by Western inte.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 320 pages. 0.237. Bookseller Inventory # 9780099438021

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. 2003. Paperback. Addresses itself to the central lacuna of twentieth century thought: the indulgence of communism by intellectuals of the West. In between the personal beginning and the personal ending, this work gives us information about Stalin: Koba the Dread, losif the Terrible. Num Pages: 320 pages, Illustrations, ports. BIC Classification: 1DVUA; BGH; HBJD; HBLW; JFCX; JPFC. Category: (G) General (US: Trade); (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 198 x 130 x 20. Weight in Grams: 236. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099438021

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Book Description Vintage Publishing. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million, Martin Amis, Koba the Dread is the successor to Amis's celebrated memoir, Experience. It addresses itself to the central lacuna of twentieth-century thought: the indulgence of communism by Western intellectuals. In between the personal beginning and the personal ending, Amis gives us perhaps the best one hundred pages ever written about Stalin: Koba the Dread, Iosif the Terrible. The author's father, Kingsley Amis, was 'a Comintern dogsbody' (as he would come to put it) from 1941 to 1956. His second-closest, and later in life his closest friend, was Robert Conquest, whose book The Great Terror was second only to Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago in undermining the USSR. Amis's remarkable memoir explores these connections. Stalin said that the death of one person was tragic, the death of a million a mere 'statistic'. Koba the Dread, during whose course the author absorbs a particular, a familial death, is a rebuttal of Stalin's aphorism. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099438021

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Book Description Vintage, 2003. Book Condition: New. 2003. Paperback. Addresses itself to the central lacuna of twentieth century thought: the indulgence of communism by intellectuals of the West. In between the personal beginning and the personal ending, this work gives us information about Stalin: Koba the Dread, losif the Terrible. Num Pages: 320 pages, Illustrations, ports. BIC Classification: 1DVUA; BGH; HBJD; HBLW; JFCX; JPFC. Category: (G) General (US: Trade); (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 198 x 130 x 20. Weight in Grams: 236. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099438021

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Not Signed; Koba the Dread is the successor to Amis's celebrated memoir, Experience. It addresses itself to the central lacuna of twentieth-century thought: the indulgence of communism by Western intellectuals. In between the personal beginning and the personal ending, Amis gives us perhaps the best one hundred. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780099438021_rkm

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