Cover of Martin Amis: Koba the Dread

Martin Amis Koba the Dread

Laughter and the Twenty Million

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U Lužického semináře 10, Malá Strana

Book information

Vintage Books

UK

2003

Paperback

306

Standard

8905

978-0-09-943802-1

0-09-943802-X

Annotation

"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 one hundred pages ever written about 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 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 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 millions a mere statistic. "Koba The Dread", during whose course the author absorbs a particular, a familial death, is a rebuttal of Stalin's aphorism.

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