Ed Driscoll

NEGATIVE PERFECTION

Kevin Holtsberry has an excellent review of Martin Amis’ new book, Koba The Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million on Blogcritics.com. Here’s a sample of Holtsberry’s review:

This is what turned Stalin from a petty if brutal dictator to what Amis calls “negative perfection,” his simply inability to accept reality. Amis explores this “negative perfection” and all its base, degrading, and horrifying fullness. He discuss the forced famines, the concentration camps, Stalin’s seeming attempts to wipe off the face of the earth anyone and anything that displeased him. Stalin’s obsessions and maniacal actions literally warped the foundations of civil society in the Soviet Union until they snapped. Soon truth had no meaning and survival seemed almost random luck. Amis illustrates this tragic and absurd situation when discussing the census of 1937. Apparently their was a national census in 1937, the first one since 1926. Stalin felt that the population should be 170 million. The Census Board reported their findings – 167 million. Stalin’s policies of forced famine and concentration camps was having too great an effect on the population. Stalin’s reaction? Have the Census Board arrested and shot! Their crime: “treasonably exerting themselves to diminish the population of the USSR.”