"Winner of the Reginald Zelnik Book Prize in History of the Association of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies"
"Winner of the Canadian Association of Slavists/Taylor and Francis Book Prize"
"Winner of the American Association for Ukrainian Studies Book Prize"
"In Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial, Lynne Viola recounts statistics that still defy belief . . . Viola writes [in] words with renewed significance in today's politically volatile, polarized climate." - Los Angeles Review of Books
"[An] extraordinary, terrifying account. Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial powerfully exposes the darkest workings of the NKVD, the political police." - Times Literary Supplement
"Much detail on how NKVD leaders and rank-and-file interrogators behaved during the height of the terror appears here for the first time, and Viola has expanded our knowledge of how the mass repressions worked." - Robert W. Thurston, Journal of Modern History
"Viola has set a high standard in economical, illuminating prose....Valuable for specialists...Stalinist Perpetrators is also an exemplary monograph for students. A master historian, Viola writes with Chekhovian diagnostic precision." - Cathy A. Frierson, Journal of Social History
"Much detail on how NKVD leaders and rank-and-file interrogators behaved during the height of the terror appears here for the first time, and Viola has expanded our knowledge of how mass repressions worked." - Robert W. Thurston, Journal of Modern History
"This book is exceptional among the voluminous scholarship on Stalin's terror. Lynne Viola has written a fascinating and valuable work. The voices of those hangmen who ultimately became victims of the terror, as well as those they arrested, provide a stark picture of the Great Terror. The author explores the banality of evil in the Stalinist context: from the daily routine of torture and murder emerges the familiar figure of the self-righteous criminal." - Oleg V. Khlevniuk, author of Stalin: New Biography of a Dictator
"A research tour de force from one of the leading historians of Stalinism, shedding remarkable new light on what happened at the end of the Great Purges. A 'must read' for scholars and students of the Soviet period." - Sheila Fitzpatrick, author of Everyday Stalinism
"Stalinist Perpetrators draws back the curtain on how the Stalinist Terror actually operated" - not just how the state ordered it, but how it happened in provincial offices and prison cells. Her subject is the 'purge of the purgers,' the trial and often execution of the men responsible for the Terror. The nature of her source material
"The Stalinist purges of the late 1930s stand as one of the most horrific episodes of state terror in the twentieth century. Yet the perpetrators of those crimes have remained anonymous for many decades, protected mainly by the rules of historical access in Russia. Now, Lynne Viola, working in Ukrainian archives, provides the first remarkable study of the perpetrators. In this groundbreaking book, we see for the first time who these individuals were, their backgrounds, what brought them to their position of life and death decisions, what life was like for them and their families during such a time. Most important, Viola examines with keen and dispassionate acumen how Stalin's murderers justified the torture and killing of hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens. This is a disturbing book, and one that needs to be read." - David Shearer, author of Stalin and the Lubianka: A Documentary History of the Political Police and Security Organs in the Soviet Union, 1922-1953
"The story of Stalin's terror is well known, except for one dimension: the fate of those among the tormentors who were themselves swept into the meat grinder. As well as lifting the cover from this less well-known part of the story, Viola explains in great detail the interaction between what was commanded from above and what flowed from forces at the ground level." - Foreign Affairs
"Viola masterfully guides us through the voluminous mass of trial testimonies, leveraging the biased and self-serving evidence to reach measured conclusions . . . Thought-provoking, judicious analysis of revelatory new materials from the Kiev archives." - Michael David-Fox, Russian Review
"A pioneering work . . . Viola critically examines interrogation protocols, witness testimonies, autopsy reports, and many other legal records, and thus succeeds in telling two stories in one book . . . She is interested in the practical implementation of terror and the mindset of those responsible for it and the book lives up to this claim." - Immo Rebitschek, Revolutionary Russia
"Stalinist Perpetrators on Trial ... offer[s] a pioneering approach to the study of Stalinist terror. By focusing on the execution of the Great Terror at the regional, district, and local levels in Soviet Ukraine, it shifts the focus of the historiography from large- to small-scale, and the object of study from victims to perpetrators ... A trailblazer in a series of innovative new works that will reshape key aspects of the historiography of the Great Terror." - Alan Barenberg, Canadian Slavonic Papers
"The first and only book to focus on the final, little-known phase of the terror. As such it is a lasting contribution to our knowledge of an enormously complex event. Viola's meticulous scholarship and deeply evocative depictions of the trials illuminate the darkest and most hidden recesses of the terror. Her carefully reasoned conclusions about torture now provide the most complete understanding we have of the ubiquity of the practice, ensuring that her book will occupy a central place in our understanding of Stalinism for years to come ... Viola is deeply persuasive in her depiction of the culture of the NKVD, the pressures its interrogators encountered, and their collective turn towards torture and fabrication of confessions. Indeed, no book to date has been able to make this case so powerfully on the basis of such a compelling body of sources." - Wendy Z. Goldman, Canadian Slavonic Papers
"Viola's wonderful book has shown ... that it is most helpful for understanding the post-war trials to better explore the pre-war practices and inner dynamics of the NKVD." - Tanja Penter, Canadian Slavonic Papers