This book is about a tragic subject but is written with real anger. Admittedly it is an informed anger but it is constant and it is refreshing. There are so many dry history books that cover the gulag system or the excesses of Stalinism but none have the determination to highlight it like this one. You are either informed, aware of the horror and against it or some sort of blind obsessive who is determined to support the regime run by monsters.
Bullet points between pages 42 – 100
* The first part of the book comes to a point where it has made it clear that Lenin was quite capable of not only ordering mass murder but seemed to have it in for the intellectual class in Russia and set out to destroy them
* This means that even from the start those who were infatuated with the Russian experiment were mistaken and were backing a monstrous regime that was quite happy killing its own
* But at the heart of this attack on different types of people – intellectual, politically aware as well as criminal – were the camps and a system of torture that meant its victims often had just a matter of months to live
* Then there are the inevitable comparisons that can be made with Hitler and Stalin and the determination they both had to wipe out entire races of people with the difference being that Stalin had a wider number of targets and the violence was random
* Although both dictators had a great deal in common in terms of their background the key advantage that Stalin had was time and he was able to destroy more lives because he was able to sit there until 1953 and keep the killing machine going