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Russia

Stalin And The Macho Cult of Mass Murder

History tells us that purges, show trials and other sadistic state policies were integral to the birth and expansion of the Soviet Union. But a new book focuses on how Stalin helped form the unique “boot and leather jacket-wearing” character of the Bolshe

Gulag prisoners working to build the White Sea-Baltic Canal (Wikipedia)
Gulag prisoners working to build the White Sea-Baltic Canal (Wikipedia)
Peter Merseburger

BERLIN -- The Kronstadt rebellion in Russia in 1921 did not mark the beginning of Stalinism, as some mainly left-leaning historians would later claim. But it did mark a peak in a bloody campaign of terror without which the Revolution could not have prevailed.

The winner of this rebellion, according to Jörg Baberowski, a Berlin-based historian of Eastern Europe, could only be the force that was prepared not only to overthrow but to exterminate the opposition. In his new German-language book, Verbrannte Erde (Scorched Earth), Baberowski argues that Stalin based his reign of terror on the culture of war, thus creating a "permanent civil war by other means' that in the 1930s made mass killings a basic tenet.

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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