• Title: Beria - My Father: Inside Stalin's Kremlin
  • Author: Fran, Sergo Beria
  • Released: 2003-11-01
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 320
  • ISBN: 0715632051
  • ISBN13: 978-0715632055
  • ASIN: 0715632051
From Publishers Weekly Lavrenti Beria has entered history's demonology as the last head of Stalin's secret police, the chosen heir to a long line of murderers and torturers. Nikita Khrushchev went further, constructing an image of a sadistic, sex-obsessed madman who sought to take advantage of Stalin's death to create his own personal dictatorship. Beria's son Sergio, it is evident here, loved his father and throughout his adult life has sought to defend him against at least the worst of the charges. Thom, a distinguished French scholar of Soviet Communism, worked closely with Sergio and added her own extensive archival research to produce a compelling account of Stalin's methods of rule in their developed form: ruthlessly pitting organizations and individuals against each other in a climate of terror that abated only slightly from its peak levels during the purges of the 1930s. Patterns of pathological suspicions and personal hatreds drove Stalin and the men around him. In Beria's case, according to Sergio, an increasingly open hatred for Stalin was fuelled by fear of the possible consequences of a megalomania that increased as the dictator aged. In addition to presenting family photos and reminiscences, this work makes a case for Beria as attempting, even while Stalin lived, to reduce the size and scope of the gulag system, to relax the Soviet grip on Eastern Europe and to blunt the anti-Western confrontation. The exact degree of Beria's support for these policies remains obscure as do his motivations. The most favorable interpretation is that Lavrenti Beria saw, more clearly than some of his counterparts, the limits of random savagery as a method of governance not least because he had tested and extended those limits in his own life and career. (Mar.)Forecast: The closeness of the relationship will make this an irresistible document for anyone with an interest in this terrible era in Soviet government, but it can, with its immediacy, if not its total objectivity, be recommended to anyone with an interest in 20th-century history.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal Sergo Beria has a daunting task. He seeks not to rehabilitate his notorious father but to redress the balance so that he is not remembered solely as Stalin's sinister, perverted killer-in-chief. This was Khrushchev's version. Here we meet the senior Beria, a devoted family man who quite naturally loathed Stalin and despised most of his colleagues. We read that he tried to mitigate the dictator's more murderous impulses (deportations, terror) and was brought down by the Kremlin mediocrities terrified as to where his plans for radical liberalized reforms might lead. The son, who chose a career in nuclear technology, was on the periphery of the top Soviet elite and met all the notables. His comments on them are mostly venomous. A battery of editorial notes from Thom (Sorbonne), who also wrote the introduction, question some of the author's more benign judgments. An exercise in filial devotion, this account partly amplifies Amy Knight's biography, Beria: Stalin's First Lieutenant (Princeton Univ., 1993), which remains the best treatment in English. For specialized collections. Robert Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ontario
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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