Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him

Rayfield, Donald

Published by Random House Inc, 2004
ISBN 10: 0375506322 / ISBN 13: 9780375506321
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Synopsis: Stalin did not act alone. The mass executions, the mock trials, the betrayals and purges, the jailings and secret torture that ravaged the Soviet Union during the three decades of Stalin’s dictatorship, were the result of a tight network of trusted henchmen (and women), spies, psychopaths, and thugs. At the top of this pyramid of terror sat five indispensable hangmen who presided over the various incarnations of Stalin’s secret police. Now, in his harrowing new book, Donald Rayfield probes the lives, the minds, the twisted careers, and the unpunished crimes of Stalin’s loyal assassins.

Founded by Feliks Dzierzynski, the Cheka–the Extraordinary Commission–came to life in the first years of the Russian Revolution. Spreading fear in a time of chaos, the Cheka proved a perfect instrument for Stalin’s ruthless consolidation of power. But brutal as it was, the Cheka under Dzierzynski was amateurish compared to the well-oiled killing machines that succeeded it. Genrikh Iagoda’s OGPU specialized in political assassination, propaganda, and the manipulation of foreign intellectuals. Later, the NKVD recruited a new generation of torturers. Starting in 1938, terror mastermind Lavrenti Beria brought violent repression to a new height of ingenuity and sadism.

As Rayfield shows, Stalin and his henchmen worked relentlessly to coerce and suborn leading Soviet intellectuals, artists, writers, lawyers, and scientists. Maxim Gorky, Aleksandr Fadeev, Alexei Tolstoi, Isaak Babel, and Osip Mandelstam were all caught in Stalin’s web–courted, toyed with, betrayed, and then ruthlessly destroyed. In bringing to light the careers, personalities, relationships, and “accomplishments” of Stalin’s key henchmen and their most prominent victims, Rayfield creates a chilling drama of the intersection of political fanaticism, personal vulnerability, and blind lust for power spanning half a century.

Though Beria lost his power–and his life–after Stalin’s death in 1953, the fundamental methods of the hangmen maintained their grip into the second half of the twentieth century. Indeed, Rayfield argues, the tradition of terror, far from disappearing, has emerged with renewed vitality under Vladimir Putin. Written with grace, passion, and a dazzling command of the intricacies of Soviet politics and society, Stalin and the Hangmen is a devastating indictment of the individuals and ideology that kept Stalin in power.

About the Author: Donald Rayfield is professor of Russian and Georgian at the University of London and the author of a number of books on Russian writers and intellectuals, including an acclaimed biography of Anton Chekhov.

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Title: Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those...
Publisher: Random House Inc
Publication Date: 2004
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New
Dust Jacket Condition: New
Edition: 1st Edition

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Rayfield, Donald
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Book Description Random House Inc, Westminster, Maryland, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st American Edition. Seller Inventory # 7402

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Book Description Random House, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. Book is clean, bright and unmarked. No tears or creases. No stains, writing or reminder marks. The binding is straight and tight. Only very mild touch of edge rubbing. Once your order has been confirmed and payment received, your order will then be processed. The book will be located by our staff, packaged and dispatched to you as quickly as possible. Seller Inventory # 017067

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Book Description Random House, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. 1st Edition. First edition, first printing (full number line). Text is clean and unmarked, binding tight, DJ unclipped and without defects, no indications of previous ownership. Seller Inventory # 001063

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Book Description Random House, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 1st Edition. Pristine. No markings. Stated 1st. Jacket not price-clipped. New archival jacket cover. // Shipped carefully packed in a sturdy box. Seller Inventory # 009973

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Published by Random House, New York (2009)
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Book Description Random House, New York, 2009. Hardcover. Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. 1st Edition. First Edition/First Printing. Hardcover in unclipped dustjacket. 541 pages, with photographs, source notes, bibliography, and index. An impressive time by Donald Rayfield that is relatively simple; it's a biography of Joseph Stalin and a history of the reign of terror in Russia after the Communist takeover of power in 1917. Astounding. As new. Unread. From my smoke-free collection. Ships in well-padded box. Seller Inventory # 7219

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Book Description New York / Random House, 2004. Condition: Wie neu. First U.S. Edition.. 541 Seiten. Seitenwerk wie neu. Einband minimalst randlagerspurig. SU ganz leicht berieben, minimal randlagerspurig und minimalst angeschmutzt. ISBN: 9780375506321 Sprache: Englisch Gewicht in Gramm: 999 23,6 x 15,0 x 4,8 cm, Gebundene Ausgabe, Hardcover mit SU. Seller Inventory # 111051

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