NYRB News


New NYRB Classics

The Road: Stories, Journalism, and Essays

By Vasily Grossman
Edited by Robert Chandler
A new translation by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler
with Olga Mukovnikova

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The Road brings together short stories, journalism, essays, and letters by Vasily Grossman, providing new insight into the life and work of this extraordinary writer. The stories range from Grossman’s first success, “In the Town of Berdichev,” a piercing reckoning with the cost of war, to such haunting later works as “Mama,” based on the life of a girl who was adopted at the height of the Great Terror by the head of the NKVD and packed off to an orphanage after her father’s downfall. The Road also includes the complete text of Grossman’s harrowing report from Treblinka; “The Sistine Madonna,” a reflection on art and atrocity; as well as two heartbreaking letters that Grossman wrote to his mother after her death at the hands of the Nazis and carried with him for the rest of his life.

Grossman’s unsparing, literary account of the horrific ways Nazi Germany implemented its ethnic-cleansing program at Treblinka was one of the first reports of a death camp anywhere in Europe and eventually provided prosecutors at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal with crucial background information. The surprise is that up until now an English-language translation of Grossman’s lengthy article has never been published in its entirety. That will soon change with the publication of The Road, a collection of some of Grossman’s best short stories and war-time articles, including ‘The Hell of Treblinka.’” —Tobias Grey, The Wall Street Journal

Poison Penmanship
The Gentle Art of Muckraking

By Jessica Mitford
Preface by Jane Smiley

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Jessica Mitford’s diligence, unfailing skepticism, and acid pen made her one of the great chroniclers of the mischief people make in the pursuit of profit and the name of good. Poison Penmanship collects seventeen of Mitford’s finest pieces and fills them out with the story of how she got the scoop and, no less fascinating, how the story developed after publication.

For my part, I can’t remember when I enjoyed a collection of journalism so much, or laughed out loud so often. Spirited, extremely witty and sharp and, perhaps most importantly, driven by a powerful sense of social justice, Mitford was, quite simply, one of the most useful journalists of the 20th century. That she could also make you laugh while exposing the shenanigans of the corrupt, or, as she preferred to call it, muckraking, makes this book indispensable….It is also useful as, and intended to be useful as, a manual for doing the kind of journalism she did. She is very interested in inspiring people to continue the tradition of muckraking, and just because the technology of journalism has changed, it doesn’t mean that techniques of getting interviewees to spill beans they would otherwise have preferred unspilled have changed, too. So as well as comments, or post-mortems, on every piece here, there is also an entertaining and helpful introduction in which she goes through the basics of her trade….And you can learn so much from her style, too. Never mind if you haven’t read any of her more substantial works; here, in essence, is her achievement.” —Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian


Life and Fate
By Vasily Grossman
Introduced and translated by Robert Chandler

“#1 on Antony Beevor’s ‘Five Best of World War II Fiction’ list”
The Wall Street Journal

“A war correspondent for the Red Army’s Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper, a witness to the battle of Stalingrad and the first journalist to give an account of the Nazi extermination camps (after visiting Treblinka), Vasily Grossman was ideally placed to write arguably the greatest novel inspired by the second world war….Life and Fate sprawls across more than 850 pages and succeeds in portraying a remarkably broad cross-section of life in Stalin’s Soviet Union.”
— Phil Mongredien, The Observer (UK)

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Everything Flows
By Vasily Grossman
Introduced by Robert Chandler
Translated by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler with Anna Aslanyan

“Understandably bitter over the suppression of his [Life and Fate] the author worked on Everything Flows—a shorter, but even more eviscerating, meditation on the monstrous results of the Soviet experiment—until his death from cancer in 1964. This new translation brings his searing vision to light….Fortunately, the KGB couldn’t keep Grossman’s books under wraps forever. His testament stands as a fitting tribute to the millions of voices that were prematurely silenced.”
—Drew Toal, Time Out New York

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Hons and Rebels
By Jessica Mitford
Introduction by Christopher Hitchens

“Stunning. Reads like extravagantly mannered fiction, except that it is all fabulously true…Miss Mitford is at once touching and wildly funny, and there is not one of her highly coloured characters that is not violently alive and uncomfortably kicking.”
Tatler (UK)

“More than an extremely amusing autobiography…she has evoked a whole generation. Her book is full of the music of time.”
Sunday Times (UK)
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