Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pg. 69: Lesley Chamberlain's "Lenin's Private War"

Today's featured post at the Page 69 Test: Lesley Chamberlain's Lenin's Private War: The Voyage of the Philosophy Steamer and the Exile of the Intelligentsia.

About the book, from the author's website:
In September 1922 Russia expelled around seventy philosophers, academics, journalists and others considered unlikely ever to come round to a Marxist-Leninist point of view. Lenin, who founded the Soviet Union three months later, initiated the campaign and chose many of the names on the list himself. This book recounts, for the first time in English, the story of these men who were deported for their anti-Communist attitudes and what happened to them when they made new lives in Berlin, Prague and Paris. This historic event, which, including family members, forcibly deprived more than 200 Russians of their homeland, takes its name from the religious philosophers, who were Lenin’s most prominent victims. The Philosophy Steamer, which contains rare photographs from police and family archives, concludes by asking what this event meant in the history of ideas. Why should ‘reason’, the cause Lenin espoused, have wanted to banish religion, just as the twentieth century got underway?
Among the praise for Lenin's Private War:
"Recounted in fascinating detail...Chamberlain brings these forgotten figures back to life with great skill and sympathy."
--William Grimes, New York Times

"Lenin's Private War is infused with a deep understanding of the rich history of Russian thought."
--Seattle Times

"Movingly describes the experience of exile in ways that echo that great exile novelist Nabokov himself.... Chamberlain has a rare gift."
--Sunday Telegraph

"Compelling, laudably unsentimental and deeply significant to the history of ideas."
--The Guardian

"Both learned and absorbing…Chamberlain has written a fine monument to a generation of thinkers who addressed questions of contemporary relevance and deserve to be better known."
--The Economist
Read an excerpt from Lenin's Private War and learn more about the book at Lesley Chamberlain's website.

The Page 69 Test: Lenin's Private War.

--Marshal Zeringue