The Zhivago Affair

The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over A Forbidden Book

Finn, Peter

(Book - 2014)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Zhivago Affair
Drawing on newly declassified files, this is the story of how a book forbidden in the Soviet Union became a secret CIA weapon in the ideological battle between East and West. In May 1956, an Italian publishing scout paid a visit to Russia's greatest living poet, Boris Pasternak. He left carrying the manuscript of Pasternak's first and only novel, entrusted to him with these words: "This is Doctor Zhivago. May it make its way around the world." Pasternak believed his novel would never be published in the Soviet Union, where the authorities regarded it as irredeemable--but he thought it stood a chance in the West and, indeed, it was widely published in translation. Then the CIA smuggled a Russian-language edition into the Soviet Union. Copies were sold on the black market and passed surreptitiously from friend to friend, and Pasternak found himself in no small trouble. But his funeral in 1960 was attended by thousands of admirers who defied their government in order to bid him farewell. The example he set launched the great tradition of the Soviet writer-dissident.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York :, Pantheon Books,, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 0307908003
Branch Call Number: 891.7344 P291f 2014
Characteristics: 352 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm
Additional Contributors: Couvée, Petra


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Oct 23, 2014

P. 43

Aug 06, 2014

Doctor Zhivago, a novel published in translation during the late 1950s by Russian author Boris Pasternak, created a sensation in the West with its negative depiction of the Russian Revolution. The CIA recognized that the book could promote anti-communist sentiment within the Soviet Union, so they arranged to produce copies of the original Russian text and sneak them into Russia. The Zhivago Affair relates the exciting story of how the book-smuggling was accomplished, the severe consequences the Kremlin imposed on Pasternak and his family, and the international controversy aroused by the novel. Publishers Weekly calls this a "triumphant reminder that truth is sometimes gloriously stranger than fiction." History and current events newsletter August 2014.

Jul 26, 2014
  • richibi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

how the Soviets pinned Boris Pasternak on the crucifix of Communism, how ideologies, secular or religious, crush inexorably the human spirit, though sometimes its poetry, like a phoenix, is resurrected to inspire, in a masterpiece


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