No Jail for Thought

NO JAIL FOR THOUGHT, by Lev Kopelev. 268 pages. (Seeker and Warburg) £6. Lev Kopelev is best known in the west not so much for his own writing but for his friendship in the camps with Alexander Solzhenitsyn. It was Kopelev on whom the great author based the character of the idealistic Jewish Communist Rubin … Read more


VORKUTA, by Edward Baca. 352 pages (Constable). 15.95. In 1945, Edward Buca was a 19-year-old member of the Polish Home Army. Poland at the end of the war was no place for an ardent nationalist. The victorious Red Army was in no mood to tolerate an independently-minded man and Buca soon found himself in a … Read more

The Masaryks

THE MASARYKS: the making of Czechoslovakia, by Zbynek Zeman. 230 pages (Weidenfeld and Nicholson). £6.50. There has long been a feeling of mutual identification between the peoples of Czechoslovakia and Israel. Both achieved independence during the same period of history after countless centuries in the service of other nations. Since he Second World War, the … Read more

The Beginning by David Markish

When the Soviets finally allowed some Jewish emigration from the USSR, they also ensured the expulsion of some of their greatest literary talents, Jewish and non-Jewish. Although there is now a considerable wealth of contemporary Russian language writers in thewest, very little is heard of specifically Jewish writers from the USSR. David Markish’s book is … Read more

Kontinent: The Alternative Voice of Russia

Kontinent 1: The Alternative Voice of Russia and Eastern Europe 180pp, published by Andre Deutsch 3.95 Since the Soviet authorities crush all forms of uncontrolled art and literature, it is not surprising to find that the best known of the country’s creative intelligentsia are emigrés. As the only creative literature is samizdat, it was only … Read more

Lenin in Zurich

LENIN IN ZURICH, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. (Bodley Head). £3.75. Sozhenitsyn’s latest book consists of chapters extracted from his panoramic history of the Russian Revolution. The first is the is the missing chapter 22 of August 1914. The rest comes from the still-to-be-published parts two and three, October 1916 and March 1917. ‘Lenin in Zurich” parallels … Read more

My Country and the World

MY COUNTRY AND THE WORLD, by Andrei Sakharov. 109 pages (Collins Harvill) £2.25. Academician Sakharov’s latest book shows very clearly how his political views have changed as a result of the experiences suffered for his role as the Soviet Union’s number one dissident. In the summer of 1968, Sakharov first published his ideas on the … Read more

The Gulag Archipelago II

THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO, Volume II, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, 712 pages (Collins and Harvill Press). £4.95. This is an agonising heavy book to read which leaves the reader cold and empty inside. The great pen of Alexander Solzhenitsyn paints a picture of a different planet, a strange world of ragged “zeks” (camp slang for prisoners) their … Read more