Tim Tzouliadis   The Forsaken:
An American Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia.
Penguin, 436 pages, $29.95

The ferocious repression carried out in Stalinist Russia remains, one may argue, unique in history. The comparable mass murders in Communist China during the so-called Cultural Revolution may have exceeded Stalin’s massacres in numbers—which remain unclear—and the Cambodian horrors perpetrated by Pol Pot were equally evil. Yet each of the latter atrocities, while almost inconceivably immoral, was comprehensible according to institutional and other social rivalries within the respective regimes. Mao, with his cadres in the Chinese army, sought to obliterate the “intellectuals” who made up most of the Communist Party, and Cambodian fanatics wiped out alleged pro-Vietnamese Communists, on the way to a demented utopian vision. Other Communist regimes liquidated all those they considered...


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