Cover image for The great terror : a reassessment
The great terror : a reassessment
Conquest, Robert.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, 1990.
Physical Description:
viii, 570 pages : 24 cm
Reading Level:
1380 Lexile.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DK267 .C649 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
DK267 .C649 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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The definitive work on Stalin's purges, Robert Conquest's The Great Terror was universally acclaimed when it first appeared in 1968. Edmund Wilson hailed it as "the only scrupulous, non-partisan, and adequate book on the subject." George F. Kennan, writing in The New York Times Book Review, noted that "one comes away filled with a sense of the relevance and immediacy of old questions." And Harrison Salisbury called it "brilliant...not only an odyssey of madness, tragedy, and sadism, but a work of scholarship and literary craftsmanship." And in recent years it has received equally high praise in the Soviet Union, where it is now considered the authority on the period, and has been serialized in Neva, one of their leading periodicals.
Of course, when Conquest wrote the original volume two decades ago, he relied heavily on unofficial sources. Now, with the advent of glasnost, an avalanche of new material is available, and Conquest has mined this enormous cache to write a substantially new edition of his classic work. It is remarkable how many of Conquest's most disturbing conclusions have born up under the light of fresh evidence. But Conquest has added enormously to the detail, including hitherto secret information on the three great "Moscow Trials," on the fate of the executed generals, on the methods of obtaining confessions, on the purge of writers and other members of the intelligentsia, on life in the labor camps, and many other key matters.
Both a leading Sovietologist and a highly respected poet, Conquest here blends profound research with evocative prose, providing not only an authoritative account of Stalin's purges, but also a compelling and eloquent chronicle of one of this century's most tragic events. A timely revision of a book long out of print, this updated version of Conquest's classic work will interest both readers of the earlier volume and an entirely new generation of readers for whom it has not been readily available.

Author Notes

Robert Conquest is the acclaimed author of many works of history, including "The Great Terror" & "The Harvest of Sorrow", both modern classics.

(Publisher Provided) George Robert Acworth Conquest was born in Great Malvern, Worcestershire, England on July 15, 1917. He was educated at Winchester College in England, the University of Grenoble in France, and Magdalen College, Oxford University. During World War II, he joined the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. After studying Bulgarian, he served as an intelligence officer in Bulgaria, where he remained after the war as the press officer at the British Embassy in Sofia.

He started out as a poet. He edited volumes of the poetry anthology New Lines, which showcased work by Movement poets. His poetry collections included Between Mars and Venus and Arias from a Love Opera. He also edited Spectrum, a series of five anthologies that presented quality science-fiction stories from the 1940s and 1950s. His science-fiction works included A World of Difference and The Egyptologists written with Kingsley Amis.

He is best known as a historian who documented the horrors perpetrated by the Soviet regime against its own citizens. He wrote numerous books on the Soviet system and politics including Power and Politics in the USSR, The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties, The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, Russia After Khrushchev, Industrial Workers in the USSR, The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities, and Kolyma: The Arctic Death Camps. He died from pneumonia on August 3, 2015 at the age of 98.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Upon its publication in 1968, Conquest's The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties ( LJ 12/1/68) received wide acclaim for its broad, well-documented portrayal of the death of millions in Stalin's peacetime consolidation of power. A generation later, the collection of samizdat literature and the openness of glasnost have permitted access to better information, thereby allowing a reassessment of the study. Conquest's review largely confirms the original work. In the new edition more recent documentation is incorporated and some portions are revised based upon new data. However, the substance of the text is much the same. Outdated appendixes have been removed. This remains an essential source, and any library without it should buy it. Larger collections will want the revision.-- Rena Fowler, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

By the Same Authorp. ii
Prefacep. vii
Book I The Purge Beginsp. 1
Introduction the Roots of Terrorp. 3
1 Stalin Preparesp. 23
2 The Kirov Murderp. 37
3 Architect of Terrorp. 53
4 Old Bolsheviks Confessp. 71
5 The Problem of Confessionp. 109
Book II The Yezhov Yearsp. 133
6 Last Standp. 135
7 Assault on the Armyp. 182
The Party Crushedp. 214
9 Nations in Tormentp. 250
10 On the Cultural Frontp. 291
11 In the Labor Campsp. 308
12 The Great Trialp. 341
13 The Foreign Elementp. 399
14 Climaxp. 419
Book III Aftermathp. 443
15 Heritage of Terrorp. 445
Epilogue the Terror Todayp. 484
Notesp. 491
Bibliographyp. 545
Indexp. 555