books


The Kravchenko Case
. The career of the Soviet defector who exposed the brutalities of Stalin's regime in a best-selling book, I Chose Freedom (1946), and then took his French Communist detractors and their Soviet backers to court, effectively putting the Soviet Union on trial (Paris, 1949). The study, which took more than 15 years to complete, utilizes FBI files on Kravchenko and the Soviet spies attached to him won in a six-year lawsuit. Published in November, 2007 by Enigma Books.

Review by Hayden B. Peake in Studies in Intelligence

Review by Paul Hollander in The New Criterion



Comment Staline a volé la bombe atomique aux Américains: Dossier KGB No. 13676
(Paris: Robert Laffont, 1996). Co-authored with KGB Colonel Vladimir Chikov (French spelling: Tchikov), this book tells "How Stalin Stole the Atomic Bomb From the Americans," referring to "KGB Dossier No. 13676" – the file on American agents Morris and Leontina Cohen. The KGB altered some details to protect its sources, but basically releases its version of how Los Alamos scientist Theodore Hall (here called "Perseus") deliveredthe design of the plutonium bomb to Soviet intelligence in 1945. Published in Berlin by Volk und Welt as Perseus: Spionage in Los Alamos (with "Wladimir Tschikow")



A Death in Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror
(New York: Enigma Books, 2003 hardbound & 2004 paperback). An investigation into the shadowy life and exceptionally mysterious death of a major Soviet spy, one of the "Great Illegals."

Walter G. Krivitsky, MI5 Debriefing & Other Documents on Soviet Intelligence. A virtual primer on intelligence, collecting documents generated by Krivitsky after his defection from Soviet Russia, including his testimony to Congress(1939) and his debriefing by British intelligence (1940), both detailing structures and methods still in use today.


10 books translated from Russian, including:

Mikhail Zoshchenko, Before Sunrise (Ann Arbor: Ardis Press, 1974). The famous humorist's search for the roots of his misery. Out of print, but sometimes available from used-book dealers and always available at the library.

Lev Kopelev, The Education of a True Believer (New York: Harper and Row, 1980). The Stalinist youth and moral awakening of a humanist. Kopelev was witness to the horrible 1933 famine in Ukraine, called the Holodomor, and his book is a primary source. Available from used-book dealers.

Anna Larina, This I Cannot Forget: The Memoirs of Nikolai Bukharin's Widow, intro. by Stephen Cohen (New York: Norton, 1993). Used as the basis for the documentary film, "Widow of the Revolution: The Anna Larina Story" (Rosemarie Reed, 1999), this book details Stalin's sadistic persecution of Bukharin and the wretched but ultimately triumphant fate of the victim's wife and son.


LEV LUNTS, COLLECTED WORKS IN THREE VOLUMES:



Volume I. Things in Revolt: The Theater of Lev Lunts

The theatrical works of the young Russian dramatist, prosaist and literary critic, Lev Natanovich Lunts (1901-1924). Included are five articles on the theater, three play reviews, five plays and one screenplay, plus reminiscences of Lunts by Maxim Gorky, Konstantin Fedin and Yelizaveta Polonskaya. All of these materials convey the avant-garde spirit of the post-revolutionary Russian theater, while the plays and screenplay develop the theme of individuality vs. the mass mind with remarkable verve and astonishing erudition.

 


Volume II. In the Wilderness: The Prose of Lev Lunts

The chief prose works of the Russian dramatist, prosaist and literary critic, Lev Natanovich Lunts (1901-1924). Included are ten stories, six articles, three book reviews, a novella and selections from his letters to Maxim Gorky and to his parents. All of these works are filled with the spirit of the 1920s, the excitement of literary experimentation and the desire to attain a mastery of form and expression so as to help create a new prose for postrevolutionary Russia. Many works relate to the literary group, The Serapion Brothers, of which Lunts was a founding member. Lunts defended the right to individual creation against the Marxist critics of the day. At the same time he was dedicated to his Jewish heritage and wrote three Biblical story stylizations: "In the Wilderness," "The Castrate" and "The Homeland." His novella, The Tsar's Treasure, is translated into English for the first time.


Volume III. Journey On a Hospital Bed: Lev Lunts & The Serapion Brothers

A large and luxurious volume, with many photographs, devoted to a young Russian writer, dramatist and polemicist, Lev Lunts, and the literary group that he co-founded, the Serapion Brothers. The first section features articles, book reviews and memoirs that recover the war-torn yet inspired literary milieu of St. Petersburg in the early 1920s. Authors Vladislav Khodasevich, Maxim Gorky, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Viktor Shklovsky, Konstantin Fedin, Veniamin Kaverin, Mikhail Slonimsky and Lev Lunts describe the utopian projects of the time, the fantastic House of Arts on Nevsky Prospekt, the "literary studio" and its phenomenal staff of teachers, and the formation of the Serapion Brothers.

The second section presents the correspondence of Lunts with the Serapions and friends from the year 1923-1924, when he was abroad receiving medical treatment. The two sides of the correspondence, which were combined only in 2007, create a time capsule that brings back the people, their personalities, their creative activities, their daily concerns, their romances and their cultural environment with striking immediacy. All of these letters are translated into English for the first time.

The third section presents the title work, a memoir of the dying youth in a sanatorium in Königstein-im-Taunus. Lunts writes with determined good humor, as if wit and mockery could make the inevitable go away. They could not: he died, and his works were censored for the rest of the Soviet period. Now he is making a comeback. In 2009, a lost collection of stories by the Serapion Brothers was discovered in Finland, and in 2013 it was published in Petersburg. The previously unknown story by Lunts, "The Zhakhov Rebellion," is translated here as a postscript.

Review of the three-volume set by Martha Hickey in Slavic and East European Journal.

2 anthologies:

The Serapion Brothers: A Critical Anthology of Stories and Essays, co-edited with Christopher Collins (Ann Arbor: Ardis Press, 1975). An exciting group of young prose writers in Petrograd at the time of revolution, presented in English translation. Out of print; at the library.

Zamyatin's WE: A Collection of Critical Essays (Ann Arbor: Ardis Press, 1988). Different approaches to Yevgeny Zamyatin's classic anti-utopian novel by a variety of different scholars, plus some stray works by Zamyatin in their first English translation. Out of print; at the library.


A smattering of creative works, including:

The Last Snow Leopard (East Lansing: Ghost Dance Press, 1996). An apocalyptic novel on environmental themes. The best thing I ever wrote, but a bad printing. Now it's an e-book. Here's a printed excerpt.

Letters From Dwight (Riverside: Xenos Books, 1998). A series of real letters from a slum in Southern California, written while pursuing women, karate and Russian studies. It's a follow-up to Misfortune (Xenos, 1990).

Five screenplays, 1996-2003: The Mad Kokoschka (UCR performance photos),The Last Snow Leopard, Polygraph, Fallback, Man Adrift – all unjustly neglected and unproduced.


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