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The Whisperers

Orlando Figes

The Whisperers illuminates as never before the hidden histories of the ordinary people who lived under Stalin's tyranny. It reveals a society where everyone spoke in whispers: whether to protect themselves, their families or friends - or to betray them. Drawing on hundreds of private family archives concealed in secret drawers and under mattresses in homes across Russia, and on countless interviews with survivors, Orlando Figes recreates the maze in which people found themselves: a world of terrible moral choices and compromises, where an unwitting wrong turn could either destroy a family or, perversely, later save it.

First published:
Published by:
Allen Lane
Hardcover 784 pages

About the author

Orlando Figes is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. He was born in London in 1959 and studied history at Cambridge. Before moving to Birkbeck he was a University Lecturer in History and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He is the author of Peasant Russia, Civil War and A People's Tragedy, which in 1997 won the Wolfson History Prize, the WH Smith Literary Award, the Longman/History Today Book of the Year Award, the NCR Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His last book, Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia was published to great acclaim in 2002 and was shortlisted for the BBC FOUR Samuel Johnson Prize.