Life and Fate Paperback – Feb 25 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
In 1961, this epic WWII Russian novel about the battle of Stalingrad was seized for being "anti-Soviet" by the KGB; it was finally published almost 20 years after the author's death, when a dissident publisher smuggled a microfilm copy to the West.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Grossman (1905-64) hoped that Life and Fate (1960), the sequel to his World War II novel In a Just Cause (Za Pra voe delo, 1954; no English translation), would appear in the USSR. Even dur ing the 1960s "thaw," that proved im possible. The translator compares the book to War and Peace , but it is closer to Solzhenitsyn's The First Circle in portraying a society that knows neither physical nor spiritual peace. Grossman uses one family's experiences of the months of the Stalingrad campaign to show the entire mad tapestry woven by Stalin and Hitler. Like Solzhenitsyn, he depicts laboratories, prisons, and the Soviet elite's uneasy privilege, but he also covers both sides of the front and follows Jews to the gas chambers. This sprawling, uneven novel is wrenching, and compelling in its portrait of loyal citizens who repel the Nazi invaders only to face renewed repression at home. Mary F. Zirin, Altadena, Cal.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Grossman was born in 1905. Although Jewish by birth, Grossman was never particularly religious and his family supported the 1917 revolution. After receiving a degree in chemistry Grossman found work in the Donbass coal mines. Encouraged by Maxim Gorky, Grossman began writing short stories and plays. Grossman adopted Stalin's maxim that writers were engineers of human souls and his work was firmly rooted in the rather tedious school of socialist realism. Grossman's play "If You Believe the Pythagoreans" attacked the philosophical rants of intellectuals and argued that they were garbage not "worth a good worker's boot.Read more ›
Some reviewers both here and elsewhere have taken Grossman to task for suggesting that the Soviet regime was a mirror image of the Nazi state. Both were collectivist societeis, both exalted group rights over the individual, both were run by a party apparatus, Both employed terror on their own citizens and remained in power through sheer force. Germany has had to atone for her crimes many times over but the Soviet state has yet to acknowledge the murder of up to 50 million people according to the mathematician dissident Vladimir Bukovsky.
The titantic struggle between these two forces forms the basis of the book. But it is not just the battles; Grossman allows us to see the human behind the machine, the wants and needs and hopes of common people. It is impossible for anyone who has not been in battle - particularly a siege - to grasp the futility and absolute unreality of the situation. That is why the small deeds and everyday actions seem to stand out; they are subtle reminders of a time without war, normality and reason.
And in this theater of the absurd, Grossman documents the almost insane actions of the Soviet regime: The political commander's rabid focus on Marxist theory when people are starving, the wasting of human beings as mere objects, the violence and above all else, arguing Socialist theory amidst rubble, the dreary, gray, hapless lives in a totalitarain state.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Excelent. It is one of the best historic chronic I ever read.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
An exceptionaly detailed description of ordinary peoples experiences during a difficult post revolution life in RussiaPublished 12 months ago by Ed Blomme
A phenomenal book, alas far too little known, juxtaposing the horrors of German Nazism and Stalinist terror and their perverting influence on human nature. Read morePublished 17 months ago by alexander budlovsky
This novel's greatness consists not so much in its fine writing, which in translation comes across as occasionally clunky and certainly not incredibly refined. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Rodge
This novel was my choice for summertime reading, and I was not disappointed. I had previously read the compilation of Grossman's wartime writings "An Author at War", so I... Read morePublished on Sept. 5 2013 by Wreck Smurfy
Vasily Grossman was a journalist during World War II, he reported for the Red Army newspaper "Red Star", covering among other events, the battle for Stalingrad. Read morePublished on Dec 18 2010 by Daffy Bibliophile