Koba the Dread by Martin Amis

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Martin Amis

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Martin Amis is the bestselling author of several books, including London Fields, Money, The Information, and Experience. He lives in London.
 
Published July 17, 2002 by Miramax. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Koba the Dread

Kirkus Reviews

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The accomplished English novelist follows his first memoir (Experience, 2000) with a post-millennial backward glance at the evil 20th century and its "chief lacuna."

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Koba the Dread

The Guardian

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In Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million Jonathan Cape £16.99, pp306 'All writers,' Martin Amis once said, 'if they mean business, if they're ambitious, have got to think they're the best.

Sep 08 2002 | Read Full Review of Koba the Dread

The Guardian

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Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million by Martin Amis 306pp, Jonathan Cape, £16.99 Why laughter?

Sep 07 2002 | Read Full Review of Koba the Dread

Publishers Weekly

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Everyone knows what the Holocaust was, but, Amis points out, there is no name for and comparatively little public awareness of the killing that took place in the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1933, when 20 million died under a Bolshevik regime that ruled as if waging war against its own people.

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Book Reporter

Martin Amis is an English literary force.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Koba the Dread

Entertainment Weekly

The novelist's take on Sovietism is a high-end clip job in which he regurgitates the writings of historians, dissidents, and apparatchiks and briefly demonstrates the thoroughness of Stalin's evil.

Jul 26 2002 | Read Full Review of Koba the Dread

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