Almost by definition, decent people universally accept that Hitler's regime was a monstrous catastrophe, but there remains even today a reluctance to see the Soviet Union for what it was. Juvenile ideas of 'revolution' and 'class struggle' continue to cloud the subject. One critic savaged Amis's book for its historical revisionism - and, alas, he wasn't being ironic. His argument, in a dim echo of Holocaust denial, was that deaths caused by Stalin had been overestimated and, in any case, most of them were from famine.Go read Koba the Dread. And forgive Martin Amis for John Self.
The book's finest achievement is that it exposes this kind of intellectual evasion not as a 20th-century historical blip but a product of self-loathing that is deep in the human soul. Today as the apologists for Islamic totalitarianism try to find their voice, Koba the Dread is a reminder that terror is not just a political means but, for the true zealot, the end itself.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I read Martin Amis's Koba the Dread last year and it crystallised what I was feeling at the time. I had read Money back in the 1980s. I thought it over-rated but it did sum up the style and culture magazines obsession with the lifestyle of the Yuppie. In Sunday's Observer Andrew Anthony (scroll down) makes the case for Koba the Dread: