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Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty…
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Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million (2002)

by Martin Amis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Amis is an excellent writer in fiction, history and politics.Stalin makes
Hitler smaller than an ant. Never see Russia the same after this.
Helps explain the Russian mindset. ( )
  PaulRx04 | Apr 15, 2016 |
It is difficult to say that I enjoyed Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million by Martin Amis. There is too much brutality to enjoy the book. But it was most informative. I have never read nonfiction from Amis before though I am familiar with his novels. This books describes the brutality of the Communists, especially under Stalin though Lenin doesn't get off scot free. The holocaust pales compared to the brutal random killings of so many under the Communist leaders. It is frightening. They killed millions and millions but usually tortuned them for a long time before they died or were killed. However I can recommend the book. ( )
  SigmundFraud | Jan 13, 2015 |
Better Book Title: That Stalin Guy? Actually Kind of a Jerk. ( )
  annedp | May 30, 2013 |
wow. just. wow. It's almost as if after The Information Martin Amis disappeared and was replaced by some lamer version of himself. I don't know what this book is for -- it sorta extends his autobiography, Experience, and it sorta is a history lesson (but not really). I like it because people often forget that Stalin was a mass murderer worse than the Nazis. But he was quieter about it. But Amis doesn't do himself any favors by comparing his own child's cry to the sounds in a Russian prison. Really? Your baby sounds like it's suffering like that? Go feed it. ( )
  evanroskos | Mar 30, 2013 |
After reading Jasper Becker's Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine about the famine and preposterous claims of super-abundant grain crops, based on the pseudo-scientific theories of the Ukrainian Trofim Lysenko, I read Martin Amis' Koba the Dread. Laughter and the twenty million.

The problem with this book is that Martin Amis, particularly in his later work, can best be described as a self-obsessed jerk, who finds himself, actually, much more interesting than the Great Terror and famine he writes about, in a light and sarcastic style. However, all the main facts and gruesome detail are there, including some horrific photographs about cannibalism.

Robert Conquest was a friend of Kingsley Amis and often visited the Amis' family at home. Koba the Dread. Laughter and the twenty million is inspired by the conversations of his father with Conquest, probably while the latter was writing or investigating his books on the same topic, and overheard by the young Martin. ( )
  edwinbcn | Nov 13, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Amis, Martinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schmitz, WernerÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Bob and Liddie - and to Clio
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Famine belongs to the Communist tetrarchy—the other three elements being terror, slavery and, of course, failure, monotonous and incorrigible failure.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786868767, Hardcover)

Koba the Dread is the successor to Martin Amis's celebrated memoir, Experience. It is largely political while remaining personal. It 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, Amis gives us perhaps the best "short course" ever in Stalin: Koba the Dread, losif the Terrible. The author's father, Kingsley Amis, though later reactionary in tendency, was "a Comintern dogsbody" (as he would later come to put it) from 1941 to 1956. His second-closest, and then closest friend (after the death of the poet Philip Larkin) was Robert Conquest, our leading Sovietologist, whose book of 1968, 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:52 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The author's father, Kingsley Amis, though later reactionary in tendency, was 'a Comintern dogsbody' (as he would come to put it) from 1941 to 1956. His second-closest, and then his closest friend (after the death of the poet Philip Larkin), was Robert Conquest, a leading Sovietologist, whose book of 1968, The Great terror, was second only to Solzhenitisyn'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.… (more)

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