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The Unquiet Ghost Paperback – Audiobook, 1 Nov 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Trade); Reprint edition (1 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618257470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618257478
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2.2 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 473,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"An exceptionally perceptive and honest book that sensitively attempts to do justice to those who lived under Stalinist tyranny and the following 40 years of state-imposed silence." -- San Francisco Chronicle, April 10, 1994

"As the Russians started to come to grips with the trauma that had numbed three generations, words poured forth in newspapers and magazine stories, public meetings, exhibitions, documentary films, plays and novels, each adding to the awakening of memories that many still found painful to confront. For the first time, it became possible to ask about the injury and the guilt, to inquire into the inner feelings of those who had lived on both sides of the barbed wire that had once encircled the hundreds of islands that made up the gulag archipelago. At the beginning of 1991, Adam Hochschild hurried to Moscow to bring this collective memory into focus. The result of his effort is this probing and sensitive book, which casts striking new light upon the Russian past and present." -- Washington Post Book World, W. Bruce Lincoln, April 10, 1994

"I admire Hochschild greatly for his use of personal narratives to understand the human response to terror. The question of why many Russians continue to revere Stalin--even some who suffered greatly during his regime--is one whose importance permeates Russia's current political crisis and indeed will endure long beyond it." -- Lingua Franca, Tina Rosenberg, August 1996

"The author of THE UNQUIET GHOST combines the strengths of a practiced investigative reporter with those of a philosopher-historian with a sensitive moral compass and the spirit of an enlightened 18th-century gentleman. . . . THE UNQUIET GHOST makes an important contribution to our post-glasnost awareness of the former Soviet Union's harrowing past--and of its unsettled present. Belonging to a literary genre which has flourished for centuries, that of "The Voyage to Russia" by a Western observer, it is an illuminating excursion led by a highly qualified guide." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 3, 1994

"The characters and the dramatic situations Mr. Hochschild encounters are nothing short of magnificent." -- New York Times Book Review, Paul Goldberg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"I was in Moscow during the first shock of Khrushchev's 'secret speech' in 1956, and have followed the long, traumatic process of de-Stalinization. No other work has brought home the full horror of this monstrous dictator's rule than this close-up account by Adam Hochschild." --Daniel Schorr

"A book that adds greatly to our grasp of the dreadful phenomena of Stalinism--and even gives the interrogation records of American citizens caught in the terror machine." --Robert Conquest

"In the spirit of scholarship and empathy, Adam Hochschild has journeyed into the totalitarian past. The voices he has recorded, the relics he has seen, are haunting--and the raw material of a terrific book." --David Remnick --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really like Adam Hochschild's writing style and he delves into the history at a political and personal level pulling know punches. He seems to ask and attempts to answer the questions of human nature behind these terrible events that I would ask myself so I find the book very satisfying as well as immensely instructive. Everyone should read this so they can see how it happens and how a whole nation gets duped. The scale of the killings ('arrests') and the harrowing accounts of what actually went on are an eye opener and give another slant on history. There are all sorts of gems, the reason the Russians were very nearly overrun in WW2 is that most of the best army officers had been executed as potential enemies of the state and the army was in a very weak state.
A very well researched, thoughtful and ultimately philosophical book. Thoroughly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
The demise of the Soviet Union may be considered the end of everything that smelled of the cold war and the defeat of the Russians that is to begin a new era. But Russia's past , and especially the last cnetury will haunt the people for many more years to come. In this book, we shown with blinding clarity the effect Stalin still has on the people. Other books like The Union Moujik and Gulag Achipelago also explores that line.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x952ce78c) out of 5 stars 30 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95207138) out of 5 stars Mesmerizing and Haunting 3 Jan. 2005
By PJM - Published on
Format: Paperback
Every so often, a book comes along that no written review, no matter how carefully crafted, can really do justice to. This is one such book.

Hochschild's six month sojourn in 1991 through the remnants of the gulag archipelago is the mesmerizing tale of a once mighty nation still very much haunted by its past descent into madness. Interviewing both victims and perpetrators alike, Hochschild aptly conveys the great extent to which Soviet society still remains conflicted some 50 years after the terror of Stalin's Great Purge.

To his credit, Hochschild does more than simply chronicle the tyranny of Stalin's regime; he continually asks "why?". Why did a movement supposedly predicated on championing and elevating the common man turn so quickly on 20 million of its own people? Why would a regime exert so much time and effort prosecuting and persecuting persons it knew to be innocent? After all the unspeakable injustices perpetrated by Stalin, why would so many weep at his passing? Why do some victims of the regime readily embrace their former captors and tormentors as fellow casualties while others refuse to speak of their ordeals to this very day? A thought provoking narrative that admirably weaves together a complex tangle of emotions and issues.

If The Unquiet Ghost has a shortcoming, it is the author's tendency to occasionally interject his personal political beliefs into the narrative. While some political expressions perhaps have relevance, such as when Hochschild criticizes his liberal forebears who refused to see Stalin's Soviet Union for the brutal totalitarian dictatorship that it was, his off-hand commentary regarding political issues unique to the United States detracts from what it otherwise a fantastic book.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9520718c) out of 5 stars Questioning, searching, thought-provoking 2 Aug. 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Hochschild examines the harsh reality of people living with the legacy of Stalinism. Russia is a country that rests on buried corpses, and as Hochschild relates, their ghosts are no longer silent. As Russians attempt to confront the past, many find it too painful to face the truth about their loved ones and even themselves. But for some, the deeply buried memories of the horror of Stalinism is surfacing. Hochschild causes the reader to ask "Would I have done any differently?" Hochschild's book is an important tool in helping understand the great problems that face the people of Russia today. His book causes the reader to ask if, indeed, there is a little Stalin in all of us
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x952bf198) out of 5 stars An insightful look into Russia's Stalinist past 27 Jun. 1996
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Hochschild writes an interesting account of life in Russia after the fall of Communism. He examines the scars of the Stalin years, and how contemporary Russian society is dealing with the past. The book takes the reader on a short tour of Russia, with Hochschild's visits to previously closed towns, ending in the Kolyma region, notorious for its labor camps. Throughout the book, Hochschild interviews Russians from all walks of life, former camp inmates and guards, doctors,workers, and former party members. While some long for the security offered in the Communist past, most await the prosperity of the free market economy. Almost all have difficulty dealing with the purges of the Stalin years, since many Russians lost family members as a result of arrest and detention. Hochschild does a commendable job of exposing the divisive nature of the purges, and how the society is having a difficult time placing responsibility, especially in the face of new information coming from formerly closed government sources almost daily. Hochschild's book is a must read if one is to fully understand the Russian people, as they search for their place in the community of nations
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x954c1408) out of 5 stars Almost Great 19 Feb. 2003
By D. Sterling - Published on
Format: Paperback
Hochschild is obviously a talented writer, and he does a great job of tackling a very difficult subject. However, often as he was drawing me in, he would throw in an anti-American non-sequitor, like comparing the people in the Gulag to the homeless in America. Huh? I'm not without compassion, but that is comparing one man's cut finger to another man's cut from the guillotine. Hochschild would be well served to leave his alternative agenda out of this book and focus on the subject at hand. The victims of the Gulag deserve nothing less.
However, if you can ignore these occasional comments which are out of place and inappropriate, The Unquiet Ghost is a solid effort which worth reading.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95207594) out of 5 stars One of the best analyses of the Stalin era and the Gulags. 9 Nov. 2010
By S.B - Published on
Format: Paperback
I finished reading this book a couple of weeks ago. It was one of the best books I've come across on Soviet, and especially Stalin era, history. The author Adam Hochschild, a well known American journalist, traveled to Russia in 1991 and collected stories from survivors of the Gulag during the great purge of the 1930s. He also met with KGB agents and was shown the archives and individual documents of some of the Gulag victims including two Americans who were shot in Moscow in 1937. The author shows a vast knowledge of the intricate history of the Soviet Union and tries to analyze its zeitgeist during the 1930s and 1940s. He also tries to delve deeper in the Russian people psyche and figure out why some of the victims actually wept when Stalin died. I find this point particularly interesting. He also visited some Siberian cities and labor camps including the notorious Kolyma in the Russian far east.
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