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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a frightening if not always interesting novel
This is a pretty vivid picture of paranoia and persecutorial madness. It tells the story of a party leader who has been arrested by the party he has loyally served for his entire life. He's a legend, really, one of the original uprisers who'd helped pave the way for a successful revolution. His arrest seems more to have something to do with a concept of 'out with the...
Published on Dec 15 2001 by asphlex

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3.0 out of 5 stars Darkness At Noon
Darkness At Noon was, for me, hard to understand at times, but was still a good and worthwhile read.
Koestler was able to portray Rubashov with stark reality. Rubashov's talking to himself gives you a good picture of how he is torn between loyalty and dislike for the communist party. However, his shifts from present to past and back again could be confusing at...
Published on Oct. 29 2001 by Charlie Ward


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a frightening if not always interesting novel, Dec 15 2001
By 
asphlex "asphlex" (Philadelphia, PA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Darkness at Noon (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a pretty vivid picture of paranoia and persecutorial madness. It tells the story of a party leader who has been arrested by the party he has loyally served for his entire life. He's a legend, really, one of the original uprisers who'd helped pave the way for a successful revolution. His arrest seems more to have something to do with a concept of 'out with the old . . .' than any specific crime. And we sit in a cell with this one, panicked man who relates his excuse for being who he was.
It is interesting and far from a surrealistic, Kafkaesque haze of uncertainty and fear of death. It is rather direct and to the point in its outlining of the seeming inhumanity of the entire apparatus of justice. And herein lies the tragedy, the understanding that the true crime against humanity to the party--any party--is individuality.
Great stuff written almost as a list of incidents.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Father of Lies Political Primer..., March 13 2002
By 
Arthur F. McVarish (Houston, TX USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkness at Noon (Mass Market Paperback)
DARKNESS AT NOON remains one of the 20th Century's most incisive political allegories because of its ironic, literal historicism. The title refers to the hour when Christ, whom Christians revere and worship as personal Savior and Redeemer of Fallen Man in history, dies a criminal's death. Rome and people he came to serve are the instruments of execution wherein THE DELIVERER is delivered to abandonment and ultimate shame. Koestler's Rubashov is no Christ. On the contrary, he is a consummate liar and has lived his life ruthlessly pursuing POWER in guise of "deliverer" and friend of freedom.
Arthur Koestler...former communist who witnessed The(first)Great Betrayal incarnated in Stalinist Purge Trials of the late 1930's...writes his novel in form of "anti-Augustinian" confession.Its banal, un-melodramatic narrative of a politcal revolutionary's life as idealogue, spy and terrorist is anti-Gospel..."bad news"...that would enslave and murder millions in the cause of secular salvation. Rubashov stands for ruthless men...would be self-apotheosized gods...promising land, bread and end to tyranny.History shows what their Darkness at Noon brought.
The novel...along with Czeslaw Milosz'essay THE CAPTIVE MIND...is recommended to readers needing refresher in psychology of political deceit. Americans who believe Political Correctness serves anything but a "Judas Project" might find Koestler's closing chapter of DARKNESS AT NOON ("The Grammatical Fiction") particularly illuminating/unnerving. Koestler's Rubashov is neither hero nor anti-hero. He is totalitarian bureaucrat; a secular demon serving a secular Hell.DARKNESS AT NOON is portrait of a dedicated liar following the Political Primer of the Father of Lies......
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Story on Communism, Feb. 8 2002
By 
Jeffrey Leach (Omaha, NE USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkness at Noon (Mass Market Paperback)
Arthur Koestler wrote this book after his disillusionment with Communism led him to reject his Marxist beliefs. Communism is, and will always be, an intellectual movement. It is probably the only form of government that came from books and writings of intellectuals. Apologists and other types of Neo-Marxists today try and shrug off the atrocities of Communism. They say that Stalinism and the like were not really Communism but an autocracy cloaking itself in proletariat trappings. These people are wrong, of course. Communism killed more people than National Socialism ever did. Even the chaos of democratic government cannot claim the body counts of Communism. In this book, Koestler tries to show how everything went wrong.
The book traces the arrest, interrogation and trial of Rubashov, a fictional composite of several real figures associated with Communist Russia. The one figure that leaps to mind immediately is Leon Trotsky. Every time Rubashov rubs his spectacles on his sleeve, I think of good old Trotsky (a murderous thug who got an axe in the head in Mexico, thanks to his old pal Uncle Joe Stalin). Regardless of who Rubashov is modeled on, comrade Rubashov is in trouble here. Rubashov is one of the founding fathers of the Communist revolution and Stalin (referred to as No.1) has decided to remove him from power, as well as life. Rubashov is arrested and jailed. His interrogator turns out to be an old friend, Ivanov. After Ivanov is himself arrested, Rubashov falls into the clutches of Gletkin, a sadistic thug who eventually gets Rubashov to confess to crimes against the Party. Needless to say, the end is not pretty. In fact, the whole book is glum and rather depressing.
Much of the book examines Rubashov's life in flashback. We see Rubashov dispatched to smooth over problems with local Commies, a meeting with a dissident Communist that ends badly for the dissident, and the sad relationship between Arlova and Rubashov. Arlova falls prey to execution because Rubashov sells her out to keep himself alive. Like I said, this is depressing stuff. There is also a fair amount of philosophical musings on Communism as well. Personally, I have little sympathy for a character like Rubashov. It was men such as him that killed hundreds of thousands when the Communist government came to power. Under Lenin, a terror unleashed on the upper class resulted in mass death, and confiscations of grain in the countryside caused even more mayhem. Stalinism, rearing its ugly head in the 1930's, was a logical progression of Leninism and its warped visions. Koestler shows us in sparse, unremittingly grim prose the end product of these horrors.
I read this book fairly quickly. It is only a little over 200 pages long and is good for killing some time. A superficial knowledge of Russian Communism is helpful in understanding some of Koestler's references, although even this is not necessary to experience the terror in this book. This book was even put on the list of the 100 all-time greats of the 20th century. I can see why. Read and understand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Such Thing as a 'True Political Perspective', Jan. 18 2002
This review is from: Darkness at Noon (Mass Market Paperback)
Darkness at Noon convinces me that developing a true political perspective is impossible. We see the protagonist, Rubashov, a key figurehead of a state's socialist revolution, who ends up executed by his party.
He sacrifices his entire life, individuality, and self-worth for party dogma and ideology. His former party, now in power, accuses him of being 'politically divergent,' of the party's interests; an accusation that is very far from the truth - the party's interests WAS Rubashov's interests, but not vice versa.
Thus, a major theme of the novel is the question of means and ends. It outright rejects the notion that 'all ends justify all means.' To Rubashov, he believed in this notion to such an extent that he stood passively when his lover, Arlova, was accused and thereby executed for treason - by actively defending her, he would obstruct his party's socialist mission.
However, Rubashov, like Trotsky, doctrinated humanitarian reason into party ideology (remember Khrushev's slogan?: Socialism with a human face!). On ideological grounds, he rightly denounced the party's program of 'vaccinating,' all peasants who decried the willful submission of giving up land. Rubashov knew that his party's ideology (socialism) could be rationalized and logically carried out by any reasoning, even when it meant genocide.

The truth, then, becomes a central issue that Rubashov painstainkingly deals with. Can truth be deducted by an all-encompassing and logically true ideology? Is it necessary to carry out all means to reach the end? Rubashov constantly shifts from the past and the present in order to tackle these questions. Finally, he realizes that he was all wrong. When the party tries him for treason, Rubashov is finally convinced that at the present, he is in fact treasonous, since he regrets his past fanatical loyalty to the party.
The reader is left with a painful thought, how do I develop a political perspective without sacrificing humanity and truth? In this age of partisan politics, hidden information, citizen impotency, and rapid development, we are left with very little practical and human perspective. Many turn to ideology for perspective, a good way to make sense of the modern world. In all respects, Darkness at Noon near convinces me that it is almost near impossible to see the 'light' even at noon time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ruthless purge., Dec 22 2002
By 
Luc REYNAERT (Beernem, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This is, quite rightly, the classic novel about a power struggle within a monolithic political party.
To consolidate his power and to exert his own policies, a dictator uses the young guard to liquidate mercilessly his old fellow revolutionaries, who once were or still are critical of him.
Koestler relates hauntingly how his idealistic dreams are shattered and how the main aim of his whole life is destroyed:"But when he asked himself, for what actually are you dying? He found no answer." (p.206)
This is still a very modern work. It reminds us that a multi-party system and free elections are a must to eliminate all risks that a ruthless clique seizes power in a country.
This book is a masterpiece.
It contains a terrible quotation: "When the existence of the Church is threatened, she is released from the commandments of morality. With unity as the end, the use of every means is sanctified, even cunning, treachery, violence, simony, prison, death." (Dietrich von Nieheim, Bishop of Verden)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Is one man's life worth more than another's?, May 17 2002
This review is from: Darkness at Noon (Mass Market Paperback)
All through this book I thought about a medieval contraption I had once read about. It was a box designed to imprison somebody, but the box was too short for the prisoner to stand and not long enough for the prisoner to lie down. It is a cruel irony that the man who designed this contraption was the first man to be sentenced to it.
Such is the irony of Rubashov's imprisonment, that this man who had stood by as his friends and lover were wrongfully accused and convicted would eventually suffer the same fate himself. That the same party that he had worked his life to build would one day turn on him. I enjoyed this book a lot. Koestler's book lays out a wonderful panorama of what happens when we put mankind above man, while attesting that the ends always to justify the means.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book that incites thought, March 31 2002
By 
David Abrams (Westchester, NY) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkness at Noon (Mass Market Paperback)
The standout point of Darkness at Noon is the political discussion of Communism and the Russian Revolution. What makes the book great is that it takes a subject that has a good possibility of becoming boring and unreadable and is able to hold your attention. If you find political discussion interesting, this is a definate read, if not, it helps to understand a big part of history, Russia and communism.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A good book if one can understand, Feb. 24 2002
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This review is from: Darkness at Noon (Mass Market Paperback)
The novel Darkness at Noon would be a very good book if the person who is reading it were very into politics and communism. In order to understand this book completely the reader needs to be very well informed of the past. In this way they need to be able to understand history and know a lot about it. They also need to be able to compare Koestlers story and actual history and put the two together. The reader also needs to be able to realize that the story is parallel to Machiavelli and Stalin. The main character Rubashov refers to Machiavelli and Stalin a great deal in the story even though it is never actually stated that he is talking about the two of them. It seems that the character Rubashov wants to be like them and that he has in the past tried to make what he was doing to be something that they would have done.
If a reader does not know a great deal about history they can begin to like the book if they pay attention to what is happening to Rubashov. Although there are not many things that go on outside of Rubashov trying to figure out what he is going to do about his trial. In order to read the book for this purpose a reader really needs to concentrate and understand that there are things going on in the background. The reader will also need to read between the lines and think more into the psychological meaning of the book. If a person is reading to book for this they will pay more attention to the conversations that Rubashov has with other cell mates and his love for Avolra. The reader would also want to pay attention to the conflict that Rubashov has with himself.
Darkness at Noon was written to give a person an image about what would happen if one was a communist and was trying to change the world. There is so many things that go on in the book that it is very hard for a reader to grasp one concept before Koestler is already going on and almost done with the next thing that the reader should grasp. If one was to read this book they should be older and be able to understand more of the themes in the story rather than to read it at a young age and not being able to understand what they are reading while they are reading the novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Koestler's Masterpiece, Dec 4 2001
Undoubtedly one of the finest accounts, fictional or otherwise, of the Stalinist Terror in the Soviet Union.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Darkness At Noon, Oct. 29 2001
This review is from: Darkness at Noon (Mass Market Paperback)
Darkness At Noon was, for me, hard to understand at times, but was still a good and worthwhile read.
Koestler was able to portray Rubashov with stark reality. Rubashov's talking to himself gives you a good picture of how he is torn between loyalty and dislike for the communist party. However, his shifts from present to past and back again could be confusing at times.
The book also shows the difference in beliefs between people in the Soviet Union. The best example of this is when the prisoner in cell 402, a monarchist, taps to Rubashov, "Bravo, the wolves devour each other".
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Darkness at Noon
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler (Mass Market Paperback - 1984)
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