"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)
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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