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Publisher's Summary

Drawing on a huge range of sources - letters, memoirs, conversations - Orlando Figes tells the story of how Russians tried to endure life under Stalin. Those who shaped the political system became, very frequently, its victims. Those who were its victims were frequently quite blameless. 

The Whisperers re-creates the sort of maze in which Russians found themselves, where an unwitting wrong turn could either destroy a family or, perversely, later save it: a society in which everyone spoke in whispers - whether to protect themselves, their families, neighbours or friends - or to inform on them.

©2018 Orlando Figes (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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A Real Life Dystopian Nightmare

It’s hard to even begin to explain the tragedy detailed in this book. It reads like a horrible dystopian nightmare that people cannot wake up from and often don’t even understand they are in. It’s hard to imagine that this world ever existed, but it was very real for millions.

Soviet repression and Stalinism is rightly associated with the Gulag and the extensive network of Soviet prisons. But compared to the entire population, only a small part of Russian society experienced these places. This work explores what happened to the rest of Russian society (it is a book that primarily looks at urban Russia, but much of it could be expanded to the broader Soviet Union).

It details the repressive Soviet “social engineering” experiment, the attempt to control every facet of life – where they lived, who they lived with, where they went to school, who went to school, where you worked, what, when and where you ate. It demonstrates the relentless attempt to destroy every vestige of private life and with it a person’s sense of being an individual. It also shows how ordinary people coped with living in such a oppressive system and how they attempted to mitigate it and maintain some small piece of private life and individuality as a form of resistance to the destruction all around them.

The narration in the audiobook is excellent

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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A Nightmare few woke up from.

An amazing look at dark times in the USSR.
The narration is excellent, even if he and the author both are people I hadn't heard of before.
I'll wait to listen to more from both.

I can imagine the pain many of these eople went through.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sean
  • 11-19-18

I can't

begin to imagine what life was like in Soviet Russia, it's like a cold dark nightmare come true, a humanitarian disaster that lasted for decades.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful