Tag Archives: totalitarianism

Dunmore, Helen. The Betrayal

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Leningrad, 1952. Andrei, a young hospital doctor and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life together in the post-war, post-siege wreckage. But their happiness is precarious, like that of millions of Russians who must avoid the claws of Stalin’s merciless Ministry for State security. So when Andrei is asked to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer, he and Anna are fearful. Trapped in an impossible, maybe unwinnable game, can they avoid the whispers and watchful eyes of those who will say or do anything to save themselves?

Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2011
ISBN-10: 014104683X

Steven Oliver HYMS: I’d recommend this book which is a fictionalised account of the ‘Doctor’s plot’ in Stalin’s Russia – who would like to treat the son of the local secret police chief for osteosarcoma? I think it’s a good read, with some challenging ethical choices to explore about what it may mean to be a ‘good doctor’ in ‘bad times’.

Figes, Orlando. The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia

Janine Henderson HYMS: “Very engaging account of the personal lives of Soviet citizens during the Stalin years; because it is written around snapshots of ordinary people`s lives, the immediate effects of the Stalin regime are much more apparent than a dry political account would achieve.
Another interesting back story though…google Orlando Figes, the author. He was caught in a lie, savagely criticising the works of fellow authors under a pseudonym, challenged, denied it, blamed his wife and then finally admitting it….interesting lessons inprobity!”

Publisher: Allen Lane;
Year: 2007
ISBN-10: 9780713997026