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Raging towards Utopia

Neal Ascherson: Koestler, 22 April 2010

Koestler: The Indispensable Intellectual 
by Michael Scammell.
Faber, 689 pp., £25, February 2010, 978 0 571 13853 1
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... overcome the greater, whether to shed innocent blood as the price of breaking humanity’s chains. Michael Scammell has devoted more than 20 years of his own life to producing this tremendous, absorbing biography, hoping to restore Koestler and his work to new generations. It was a bold thing to take on. In the first place, Koestler wrote two books ...

Solzhenitsyn’s Campaigns

Richard Peace, 18 April 1985

Solzhenitsyn: A Biography 
by Michael Scammell.
Hutchinson, 1051 pp., £18, February 1985, 0 09 151280 8
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... of the life and times of Solzhenitsyn to date, but research cannot have been easy, even though Mr Scammell had the cooperation of Solzhenitsyn himself – up to a point. The disentangling of facts from myth, from propaganda, from disinformation, from studied amnesia, has been undertaken with great skill. From the outset Solzhenitsyn’s life was marked both ...

Like a Thunderbolt

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Solzhenitsyn’s Mission, 11 September 2008

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 
by Liudmila Saraskina.
Molodaia gvardiia, 935 pp., €30, April 2008, 978 5 235 03102 9
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... that it succeeded at Lenin’s expense, a triumphant negation of Lenin’s success. Back in 1984, Michael Scammell wrote a fine warts-and-all biography of Solzhenitsyn which was forced to end on a note of uncertainty. Had Solzhenitsyn blown his great international success of the 1970s by retreating into angry exile in Vermont to write a multi-volume epic ...

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