Bild på författaren.

Brian Moynahan (1941–2018)

Författare till The Faith: A History of Christianity

25 verk 1,555 medlemmar 20 recensioner

Om författaren

The author was a foreign correspondent and latterly European Editor of the Sunday Times (London). His biographies and histories include the prize-winning The Russian Century, William Tyndale: If God Spare My Life, and The Faith. He writes for several British and American newspapers. He lives in visa mer London (England). visa färre

Verk av Brian Moynahan

Leningrad : siege and symphony (2013) 181 exemplar
Rasputin: The Saint Who Sinned (1997) 178 exemplar
Airport International (1978) 38 exemplar


Allmänna fakta



The book starts and ends with a description of the performance under Karl Eliasberg of the 7th symphony, the ‘Leningrad symphony’, by Shostakovich on the 9th Aug. 1942 in the besieged city of Leningrad, encircled by the german army since the last land-route was cut on the 14. Sept. 1941. Experiences of citizen and soldiers, prominent and unknown, are described which they endured since the 22nd June 1941, the day the german invasion started. The author draws on published and archive sources; they are listed. An extensive Bibliography and Index is provided.
Stalin’s terror is drawn in vivid pictures. The NKVD activities : spying, arrests, torture and executions did not abate even when people were dying of starvation and cold in the streets. The narration switches frequently between the incredible suffering Leningrad’s citizens endured, to the front-line and the efforts to keep open the perilous supply line over Lake Ladoga by barges in summer, by lorry-convoys in winter. They were often sunk by enemy fire.

Shostakovich, his wife and children were evacuated the 1. October to Kuibyshev as the city of Samara on the Volga was then named. He finished there his 7th, the Leningrad symphony, that is inspired by the suffering, the endurance and hope of the people of Leningrad. The progress of the work and reactions to it are described. So as to perform this symphony expressing the spirit of defiance in the face of the enemy everything was mobilised. Never before or after was a concert staged under such conditions.

The book is vividly written and makes for fascinating reading. The one serious objection I have is that Moynahan equates Stalinism and Nazism, a common error of perception and judgement. The terror under Stalin was an exploitation of personal power by Stalin and the heads (Yezhov, Beria) as well as subaltern officers of the NKVD. Stalin was a ruthless dictator; anybody suspected - or just perceived - as a danger to his power he had killed or exiled to Siberia. His henchmen Yezhov and Beria were even worse.
Nazism was entirely different: it was a racist ideology that invented the idea of a superior ‘Aryan race’ while designating others, like Slavs, Romani, Jews, … as ‘subhuman’, i.e. ‘vermin’ to be enslaved or squashed and exterminated. Hitlers plan, had he won, was to raze Leningrad and Moscow to the ground and enslave any surviving population. 4* (X-21)

See also Slavoj Zizek on the distinction : Nazism - Stalinism :
Is the minimal difference in politics not the one between Nazism and Stalinism? In a letter to Herbert Marcuse from 20 January 1948, Heidegger wrote: "To the serious legitimate charges that you express 'about a regime that murdered millions of Jews...' I can merely add that if instead of 'Jews' you had written 'East Germans,' then the same holds true for one of the allies, with the difference that everything that has occurred since 1945 has become public knowledge, while the bloody terror of the Nazis in point of fact had been kept a secret from the German people." Marcuse was fully justified in replying that the thin difference between brutally ex-patriating people and burning them in a concentration camp is the line that, at that moment, separated civilisation from barbarism. One should not shirk from going even a step further: the thin difference between the Stalinist gulag and the Nazi annihilation camp also was, at that historical moment, the difference between civilisation and barbarism.
… (mer)
MeisterPfriem | 3 andra recensioner | Oct 20, 2021 |
Note to self: Another book, [b:Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad|24727079|Symphony for the City of the Dead Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad|M.T. Anderson||44353562] is more about the life of the composer so read that one, too.
Jinjer | 3 andra recensioner | Jul 19, 2021 |
Her life in pictures and it’s a very high quality. It’s a picture book as much with minimal reading provided, great for breezing through and the showing off glossy photos of her beauty will not disappoint any hardcore fan. The theme does lead down the films she was involved in so misses out quite a vast chunk of history. However it’s a joy to be hold and ranks one of my top Marilyn books.
Andy4Marilyn | 4 andra recensioner | Jun 19, 2019 |


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