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4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, profound, and deeply sad account of the destruction of a society, 26 Jun 2011
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This review is from: The Silent Steppe: The Story of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin (Hardcover)
This is no literary masterpiece, so my rating reflects the contents rather than purely being about the style of the writing. This is a profoundly moving, personal account of the tragedy of the Kazakh nomads and the problems brought about by forced collectivisation. The writing style is actually fairly flat, almost impassive at times - which is probably a good thing as otherwise the book might be a painful read. As it is, it is informative and haunting. The author does not have a flair for writing (although it is a translation, so for Russian readers the original may be better), but he has a story to tell which is fascinating although tremendously sad.

This book should be read by anyone who is interested in Soviet history or in Central Asia - especially the vast lands of the Steppe. It should also be read by anyone who feels calmly confident that their way of life is fixed and impossible to change. This book shows how ancient traditions and customs can be completely destroyed in a very short period of time, partially by the brutality of a regime, but also by sheer incompetence. Anyone who has travelled or worked in modern Kazakhstan can barely recognise the country described in this book, so deep have the changes that the soveit system enforced on the country.
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The Silent Steppe: The Story of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin
The Silent Steppe: The Story of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin by Mukhamet Shayakhmetov (Hardcover - 9 Jun 2006)
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