Booklist, Sept 1, 1999 v96 i1 p64


The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939

(Review by Gilbert Taylor)

Getty, J. Arch and Naumov, Oleg V. The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932-1939. Tr. by Benjamin Sher. Sept. 1999. 635p. index, illus. Yale, $35 (0-300-07772-6). DDC: 947.084.

This documentary collection, continuing Yale's pioneering Annals of Communism series, tackles questions surrounding the paroxysm of the purges in 1937-38. One thing Stalin had was a long memory, and the hitherto mysterious Riutin Platform (the contents here at last seeing the light) must have rankled him. The platform was a 1932 call by Bolshevik veterans to remove him. The course culminating in the extirpation of all opposition was complex, and the authors' commentary underscores that a politics of sorts continued up to the point when full-blown terror was unleashed, a politics that pitted the central apparatus of Stalin and his associates in Moscow against the regional party bosses. The authors track one such Stalinist's fate in detail, as they do that of Bukharin, Stalin's opponent in the 1920s. The 200 documents here will astonish anyone familiar with the era, yet it is a specialized tome whose public library appeal could be checked against the circulation stats for the indubitably popular Who Killed Kirov? by Amy Knight [BKL My 15 99].