This is an extraordinary book! "The whisperers" is by far the best book that I have read about this period. With hindsight, it is almost impossible to understand what happened in the Soviet Union between 1925 and 1965. How did Russian people live through the great terror? How, in the aftermath of the terror, did the Russian people rally and fight with extraordinary courage the Nazis? How their dreams for a better society were shattered by the cold war? Orlando Figes has collected the testimonies of survivors and of their children to explain those terrible years. It is the story of those families destroyed by the terror and by the war. It is the story of people's dreams, and of the brutal end of these dreams. It is the story of 12-14 years old children who found themselves head of their family after their parents were shot, took care of their younger brothers and sisters, survived, and managed to study successfully. It is the story of those ordinary Russians who helped them go to school in spite of the interdictions. It is the story of orphans compelled to renounce their parents who had been shot. It is the story of prisoners of the Goulag becoming stakhanovites. It is the story of ordinary Stalinians, like the writer Simonov, who may appear like one of Stalin's henchmen, but was not a vile man. He took part, however reluctantly, to the purging of the "cosmopolitan" writers in the late 40s, but also sent money to those writers he had just fired, and helped them get published. It is the story of the Russian people. The old pictures that the author has collected give further life to the people evoked in the book. This is a very human book and a very moving book. It is the best testimony that could be left in memory of the victims. Extraordinary people, those who died and those who survived ! They deserved such a book.