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"Wachtel's lively fictional account offers a fresh look at the cruelty of Stalin's repression from the vantage point of one of its victims, an honest communist official and spy cast in the role of witness to sabotage at one of the three show trials of the Great Terror. The fascinating life story of Vladimir Romm encapsulates much of the Soviet experience, and the reader's natural sympathy with this attractive figure gives his cruel fate added poignancy. A powerful indictment of Stalinism and a great read besides!" --Peter H. Solomon, Jr., Professor of Political Science and Criminology, University of Toronto, author of "Soviet Criminal Justice under Stalin (Cambridge Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies Series)" and "Courts And Transition In Russia: The Challenge Of Judicial Reform"

"Jay Wachtel's Stalin's Witnesses' is historical fiction at its best—a gripping story that sheds light on one of the most shocking and egregious travesties of justice in modern times. With verve and brilliantly constructed dialogue to fill gaps in the historical record and to bring the historical characters to life, Wachtel chronicles the story of five individuals who were forced to testify against their fellow Communists and in so doing condemned not only the defendants but also implicated themselves in farfetched crimes. He shows what happens when ideology enslaves human beings, hollows out their dignity, and changes their dreams into nightmares. Along the way, he showcases the duplicity and hypocrisy of fellow travelers and others who for various reasons stood by, even lent credibility to the sham proceedings. Above all, he conjures up the spirit of Stalinism—a frightening reality that stills impacts the Russian people." --Dennis J. Dunn, Professor of History and Director of the Center for International Studies, Texas State University, Author of Caught Between Roosevelt and Stalin: America's Ambassadors to Moscow

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review by . December 10, 2012
   Set in a fascinating period of Russian history, well-researched and convincingly told, Julius Wachtel’s Stalin’s Witnesses brings to life that era between two world wars when Russia still needed the friendship of other nations, even as it planned to overcome them.   I don’t usually read the “thanks to” at the opening of books, preferring to get to the story straightaway, but this author’s thanks pulled me in with details of serious research …
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