The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book.pdf

The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book.pdf


"A thrilling literary espionage yarn, but much more than that... [Finn and Couvee] shed new light on the Cold War struggle for the hearts and minds of millions of people, introducing a cast of characters - poets and spies, idealists and cynics, politicians and dissidents - who could have stepped out of the pages of Doctor Zhivago itself." Michael Dobbs, author of Six Months in 1945: From World War to Cold War "With ground-breaking reporting and character-rich storytelling, Peter Finn and Petra Couvee uncover the high-stakes drama behind one of the Cold War's strangest turning-points. Passionately written, acutely aware of the historical context, The Zhivago Affair almost makes one nostalgic for a time when novels were so important that even the CIA cared about them." Ken Kalfus, author of A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, finalist for the 2006 National Book Award "A sparkling and fascinating account of how one of the most important novels of the 20th century found its way back to Russia, a juggernaut of truth thrust into the Soviet darkness. Peter Finn and Petra Couvee elegantly and authoritatively capture Pasternak's brilliance, the courage of his friends, and the CIA's hidden role in bringing the forbidden book to Russian readers." David E. Hoffman, author of The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy, winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize "This is the most detailed account to date of the events that suddenly placed one of Russia's greatest poets in the center of the struggle between Soviet and Western propaganda machines at the height of the Cold War. Pasternak's personal courage in the face of this totally incongruous conflict is the quality that emerges most clearly from this well-paced narrative, which is especially commendable for its avoidance of all romantic exaggeration - a quality Pasternak himself strove for in Doctor Zhivago. The book is of great relevance today, when such conflicts seem (but only seem) to have disappeared." Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, translators of Doctor Zhivago (2010)

PETER FINN is a national security correspondent for The Washington Post, and previously served as the Post's bureau chief in Moscow. He was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for his coverage of the wars in Kosovo and Afghanistan. PETRA COUVEE is a writer, translator and teacher. She has translated the work of numerous Russian writers into Dutch. She is an affiliated researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands and teaches Dutch each spring at Moscow State University.

In May 1956, an Italian publishing scout took a train to the Russian countryside to visit the country's most beloved poet, Boris Pasternak. He left concealing the original manuscript of Pasternak's much anticipated first novel, entrusted to him with these words from the author: 'This is Doctor Zhivago. May it make its way around the world.' Pasternak knew his novel would never be published in the Soviet Union, where the authorities regarded it as an assault on the 1917 Revolution, so he allowed it to be published in translation all over the world. But in 1958, the CIA, which recognised that the Cold War was above all an ideological battle, published Doctor Zhivago in Russian and smuggled it into the Soviet Union where it was snapped up on the black market and passed surreptitiously from friend to friend. Pasternak, whose funeral in 1960 was attended by thousands of readers who stayed for hours in defiance of the watching KGB, launched the great Soviet tradition of the writer-dissident. With sole access to otherwise classified CIA files, the authors give us an irresistible portrait of the charming and passionate Pasternak and a twisty thriller that takes readers back to a fascinating period of the Cold War, to a time when literature had power to shape the world.


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