Why did I love this book?
I studied under the distinguished sociologist, Immanuel Wallerstein. One day in class he said, if you read only one book, it should be this one. So I read it.
Koestler was a Hungarian Jew who joined the German Communist Party. He became disillusioned with communism, in part because of the Stalin trials of the 1930s, in which many of Stalin’s own former allies were tortured and executed.
The protagonist of the novel is Rubashov, a dedicated Communist who is accused of treason, tortured, and eventually executed despite confessing to his supposed crimes. The novel is a great way to learn not only about the Stalinist Soviet Union, but about any society that brain-washes its victims.