ON-Lion Letter

What's it like to be the son or daughter of a dictator?  A monster on the Stalin level?  What's it like to bear a name synonymous with oppression, terror, and evil?

In Children of Monsters:  An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators, forthcoming from Encounter Books, Jay Nordlinger sets out to answer that question.  He surveys 20 dictators in all.  They are the worst of the worst:  Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and so on.  The book is not about them, really, though of course they figure in it.  It's about their children.

Nordlinger is a senior editor of National Review, a book fellow of the National Review Institute (NRI), and music critic for The New Criterion.

Some of the children of dictators are absolute loyalists, his book shows.  They admire, revere, or worship their father.  Some of them actually succeed their father as dictator -- as in North Korea, Syria, and Haiti.  Some of them have doubts.  A couple of them become full-blown dissenters, even defectors.  A few of the daughters have the experience of having their husband killed by their father.  Most of these children are rocked by war, prison, exile, or other upheaval.

Obviously, the children in Children of Monsters have things in common.  But they are also individuals, making of life what they can.  The main thing they have in common is this:  they have been dealt a very, very unusual hand.

Meet these characters for yourself. Marvel, shudder, and ponder.

Encounter Books is an activity of Encounter for Culture and Education, a nonprofit group that is substantially supported by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee.  Bradley also supports NRI and The New Criterion.

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