"[T]he straightforward matter-of-fact manner in which Overy lays out the structure of two spectacularly horrifying systems cannot help but lead a reader back to questions about human nature and human evil."
From the Publisher
This magisterial study of the two major totalitarian systems of the 20th century draws on the author's prodigious learning and employs a somewhat new approach to historiography. Previously, historians tended to study Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia separately, with the idea that what they had in common was that each was sui generis, of its own kind. Overy's comparative approach seeks out their common origins in post-World War I Europe, and examines the similarity in their appeals to the masses and their exploitation of unrest and resentment. He lays out their political, social, and economic structures, including the aspects of modernity that helped turn two nations into war machines and states of terror. Through all, Overy specifically attends to the lives of the people, and brings out unequivocally the overwhelming horrors of both the Hitler and Stalin regimes.