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