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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Red Cloth, Yellow Cloth: Stalin's Biggest secret
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on 5 August 2009
Dense with fact and atmosphere and touches the imagination in a brooding but powerful way, and remains super glued to the hand until the final page. Special mention should be made regarding characterisation, which should be the basis of any good novel, and this book excels. Kamo (the main character) is appealing, and the gay Dubrovin menacing. Best of all though, in my opinion, is the wily old ex-premier, Goryemkin, conniving and underhand.
More importantly, I absorbed more about Stalin reading this than I think I ever could flicking through history books and films.
Important and fascinating. A taut page-turner and highly recommended!!!
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on 25 November 2009
Tufft weaves a compelling tale in his debut offering. It is part historical fiction and part thriller. The characters are skillfully woven together through a changing timeline that draws the reader into the most thrilling parts of early Soviet History. The lines between hero and villain are constantly shifting as the reader becomes closer and closer to the central characters. It's even more masterful once the realization comes that the characters, although fictionalized for this story, were actual people that played the grand dance that was the birth of the Soviet Union. I can't give enough praise to the author for this work. I kept imagining scene after scene as the story played out. In fact, I would not be surprised to see this story on the silver screen in the near future. It has blockbuster written all over it. Well done Mr. Tufft. Well done!
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on 5 June 2015
As I have been a communist and bolshevik all my adult life, i have a good knowledge of the things that happen in this story, it's is fact mixed with fiction, stalin was not a spy, there is no evidence for this only rumours from mensheviks who wanted to damage Lenin, the disagreements over policy that raged in the Russian social democratic labour party between the bolshevik and mensheviks is to complex for a book review, the reader must remember that the tsarist government hunted down and killed revolutionarys as well as imprisoning them, groups had to resort to expropriations, the caricatures in the story are well rounded and you may find yourself attracted to them, it's quite a good read, but I ask the reader to remember, this is a story, written by someone who is anti socialist, just enjoy the read, but don't treat it as fact.
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on 1 August 2009
This enthralling story starts at a pace (it's important to follow the dates carefully at first as so much is happening) and never slows; the climax is almost heart-stopping!!! The characters are so well painted, Kamo - Gerasimov - Dubrovin, and of course, Stalin; that the reader is either drawn to them or feels quite repelled. Stuffed full of historical reality, the book leans heavily on the author's imagination. Dry facts are expertly fictionalised to capture both the atmosphere and horror of the times without bending the truth. Kamo, a dreadful killer, became almost endearing - even as I was cringing reading about him. Dubrovin is devilishly sinister (but maybe my favourite character) - but more than this, Stalin's evil is explained in a way I've never seen published before. A rewarding book to read! Absorbing, informative, thrilling... the best possible kind of read. FIVE STAR PLUS!!!!
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on 5 October 2009
I was very impressed with the way Stalin is portrayed, his character and personality. I knew this was an evil man, but this book literally put me inside his head. I saw the real Stalin; the Stalin that smelt, had advanced gum disease, slept in his clothes...
History books throw statistics at us, 20, maybe 40 million dead. Everything's `maybe'... but not in `Red Cloth, Yellow Cloth'; here we see clearly Stalin's cruelty, cunning and objectives - a book to be treasured.
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on 16 September 2009
Usually, I'm less than interested in Russian history, but I read this book with a curious interest. The writers imagination, skill and ability has allowed him to produce the perfect fictional book based on fact, crammed choc-a-block full of absorbing characters. This world of pre-revolution terrorism and secret police is spellbinding. To begin with the dates gave me trouble as the book moves back and forth in time, but once I got the drift of the writing style - previous events (that I'd already read) took on a deeper meaning. Things add to things, it's a strange book in that respect. The bank robbery hits you like an earthquake - the Tbilisi hoist, Baku hideout attack and assassination attempt are masterpieces of storytelling; doling out pace, tension, horror and unexpected twists of plot in constant doses. This is bloody good material for a film, Hollywood directors take note!
My favourite character was Kamo (how could he not be?) Appalling, determined and ready to die for his single belief. No wonder the revolution succeeded! However, I hated Stalin with a passion after reading this, and I hadn't really thought about him previously - a monster, horrific, evil...
This is a captivating story leaving me drooling for the next installment; please tell what happened to Kamo next???
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on 28 July 2009
To be honest, before I brought myself to read this book, I was sure I wouldn't like it- just not my kind of read. But I totally fell in love with a terrorist - Kamo's a crazy, cruel, unpredictable, CHARMING bandit.
In one word: very-good-amusing-although-often-brutal-book.
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on 22 June 2009
I'll be honest, the cover first grabbed my attention which looks even better in glossy actuality. Then once I realised the book was about Stalin, I bought it. The first thing to say is that this book is not a stodgy, biography - rather it's fiction based on factual events and far more interesting as a result.

The story starts in 1907 with a bank robbery in Tbilisi, then follows Kamo (Symion Ter-Petrossian) and Koba (Stalin) - the bank robbers, in seperate stories. The characters are great, Kamo in particular comes across as an endearing phychopath and Gerasimov is a grumpy, lonely Okrhana (secret police) agent entrusted to find Kamo and kill him. The build up to the assassination, in particular, is extremely tense and gripping. Stalin's thought processes are cleverly examined, usually via conversation pieces. The dictators horrific character is described vividly, and disturbing to read.

There is also a engrossing story about the Muslim massacres in Baku, and the 26 Baku Commisars which cleverly links into the main story.

Great stories, a great book.. in a word, captivating!
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on 15 September 2009
It was Marx who said - `men make their own destinies but not in circumstances of their own choosing'. That's true of the characters in this book. Both destiny and circumstance play a huge part in Red Cloth, Yellow Cloth, and it's done with style.
Kamo's a killer in every sense of the word, psychotic, manic, cruel... but it's strangely impossible not to like him. Gerasimov you feel sympathy for; lonely, bereft, confused even... Dubrovin you hate instantly. But then that's just the adventure part.
My own mind cocked when it came to Stalin. Vital events in Stalin's life, barely known in the west and written here over large jumps of time, arguably reveal the mind of this terrible man and helps us to percieve the paranoia which drove him to commit terrible atrocities against his own family and collogues.
Good, very good.
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on 10 July 2009
A brilliant book which superbly blends fact with fiction to produce an enthralling tale of intrigue and adventure.
The desciptive writing brings the story and characters to life and builds tension and excitement into the action.
The story spans nearly four decades of Russian history and moves back and forth in time to give deeper meaning to events as they unfold.
Be warned, once you pick up this book and start reading, you will not want to put it down until you get to the end.
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