Last July a German doctoral student named Matthias Weßel made a remarkable discovery: a copy of the German manuscript of Arthur Koestler’s masterpiece. The implications are considerable, for Darkness at Noon is that rare specimen, a book known to the world only in translation.
by Bengt Jangfeldt, translated from the Swedish by Harry D. Watson
When Vladimir Mayakovsky committed suicide on April 14, 1930, the news sent shock waves through the Soviet Union. Ilya Ehrenburg, who knew of Mayakovsky’s notorious gambling habit, thought he might have been playing Russian roulette with his beloved Mauser pistol and lost his bet. But Mayakovsky’s suicide note, written two …
The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book
by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée
Inside the Zhivago Storm: The Editorial Adventures of Pasternak’s Masterpiece
by Paolo Mancosu
Two new books describe in great detail the way the CIA successfully covered its tracks and the mechanisms it used to get a Russian-language edition of Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago published in Europe.
Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy
by Douglas Smith
When I was studying Russian at a British army language school in the 1950s, most of my teachers were Russian émigrés who had fled the Bolshevik Revolution. To a provincial like me they seemed a strange and exotic bunch. One bohemian used to walk around in a billowing duffel coat …
Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag
by Orlando Figes
The principal institution in Russia for investigating Gulag history and insisting on the nation’s responsibility for its past continues to be the excellent Memorial society, which despite harassment and hostility from the Putin government steadfastly pursues its work of collecting historical evidence and making it available to the public. Among …