Moving from the Revolution of 1917 to the death of Stalin and beyond, Orlando Figes re-creates the moral maze in which Russians found themselves, where one wrong turn could destroy a family or, perversely, end up saving it. He brings us inside cramped communal apartments, where minor squabbles could lead to fatal denunciations; he examines the Communist faithful, who often rationalized even their own arrest as a case of mistaken identity; and he casts a humanizing light on informers, demonstrating how, in a repressive system, anyone could easily become a collaborator.A vast panoramic portrait of a society in which everyone spoke in whispers - whether to protect their families and friends, or to inform upon them - The Whisperers is a gripping account of lives lived in impossible times.
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"Starred Review. By seamlessly integrating the political, cultural and social with the stories of particular people and families, Figes retells all of Soviet history and enlarges our understanding of it." - Publishers Weekly.
"Figes's sociological approach explains much about these evils and how Russia fell under a complicit, fearful silence. Lucid, thorough and essential to understanding Stalinist society." - Kirkus Reviews.
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Orlando Figes is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. Born in London in 1959, he graduated with a Double-Starred First from Cambridge University. He is the author of many books on Russian history, including A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891-1924, which in 1997 received the Wolfson Prize, the NCR Book Award, the W.H. Smith Literary Award, the Longman/History Today Book Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia (2002) was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize.
His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.
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