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Stalinist Confessions


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About the Author

Igal Halfin is senior lecturer in the department of history at Tel Aviv University. He is the author of Intimate Enemies: Demonizing the Bolshevik Opposition, 1918-1928; From Darkness to Light: Class, Consciousness, and Salvation in Revolutionary Russia;


"In this study of the Great Purges, [Halfin's] examination of Stalinist language and ideolog do much to deepen our understanding of this extemely disturbing and perplexing event."
--Slavic Review

"A terrific book at an empirical level, and one that offers some fascinating insights into the behavior of people during the purges."
--The Journal of Modern History

"An important contribution to the scholarly understanding of perhaps the least explained phenomenon in Russia's modern history, the upsurge of mass political violence during the late 1930s, widely known as the Great Terror. . . . In particular, the book is a step forward in eludicating the intellectual and linguistic dimensions of the terror--a complex and challenging field, in which Halfin has done significant work."
--The Russian Review

"Culminating Halfin's pathbreaking work on the political culture of Soviet Communism, this book offers a fundamentally new reading of the Stalinist purges. Halfin takes seriously the eschatological orientation informing the Communist project. Drawing on secret NKVD interrogation files, he presents the purges as a moral reckoning and final judgment. Halfin's achievement is immense: he effectively unravels what used to be called the mystery of the Stalinist purges."
--Jochen Hellbeck, Rutgers University

"Halfin's work focuses on one institution, the Communist University in Leningrad, through the maelstrom of the Great Purges. Through one discrete social and political setting, Halfin provides a "thick description" of the Great Terror, from student party cells to party leaders' dachas to the execution rooms in the basements of NKVD buildings. At its core, this book examines the procedures of the purge and what it meant to its participants on both sides of the interrogation table. This is a seminal study and a major contribution to understanding one of the most disputed and puzzling events in modern history."
--Peter Holquist, University of Pennsylvania

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