Moscow 1937 by Karl Schlogel, Polity '12, 652 pages, ASIN #0745650767. Index, select bibliography, notes, b&w images sprinkled through text.
It's 1937 -- the zenith of Joseph Stalin's dictatorship. Why isn't anyone smiling? In this monumental book, historian Karl Schlogel recounts the horrific process through which "the terrorism of a state-of-emergency regime spiraled into the 'Great Terror' during which 1.5 million human beings lost their lives within a single year."
In the shadow of this reign of terror, writes Schlogel, "the regime around Stalin also aimed to construct a new society.....(and) "presents an age in which the boundaries separating the dream and the terror dissolve, and enables us to experience the fear that was felt by people subjected to totalitarian rule." This book is recommended reading not only for students of Russia and the Soviet Union but for general readers of history interested in one of the most dramatic and disturbing events of modern history.
Karl Schlogel is Professor for Eastern European History at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt an der Oder.
The Tale of the Heike, translated by Royall Tyler, Viking '12, $50, 734 pages, ASIN #0670025135. Maps, genealogies, footnotes, b&w images sprinkled through text.
From the dust jacket:
The Jetavana Temple bells
Ring the passing of all things
Twinned sal trees, white in full flower
Declare the great man's certain fall.
"This reflection on the fleeting nature of power and glory opens The Tale of the Heike, the original samurai saga of pride, romance, and warfare from medieval Japan. An epic story from the 14th century about the 12th century wars between the Heike and Genji clans, narrated with wit, verve, and compassion, it is a masterpiece of world literature and Japanese culture.
"It draws contemporary readers into the lives of such unforgettable characters as the ruthless warlord Kiyomori, who dies burning with such rage that water poured on him boils; Hotoke, the beautiful young dancer who renounces wealth and fame to follow her conscience; Shigemori, the tyrant's righteous son, who struggles against all odds to uphold fairness and justice; and Yoshitsune, the daring commander who defeats the enemy in battle after battle, only to be condemned by his jealous, powerful brother."
Royal Tyler is retired from the Australian National University, where he taught Japanese language and literature for many years.