Molotov's Magic Lantern

Molotov's Magic Lantern

Travels in Russian History

Book - 2011
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When the author, a British journalist, moves to Moscow, she discovers an apartment on Romanov Street that was once home to the Soviet elite. One of the most infamous neighbors was Stalin's henchman Vyacheslav Molotov, who was a participant in the collectivizations and the Great Purge, and also an ardent bibliophile. In what was formerly his apartment, she uncovers an extensive library and an old magic lantern, two things that lead her on an extraordinary journey throughout Russia. In this book, she visits the haunted cities and vivid landscapes of the books from Molotov's library: works by Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Pushkin, Akhmatova, and others, some of whom were sent to the Gulag by the very man who collected their books. With exceptional insight, she writes about the longings and aspirations of these Russian writers and others in the course of her travels from the Arctic to Siberia and from the forests around Moscow to the vast steppes. This work evokes the spirit of the great artists and the haunted past of a country ravaged by war, famine, and totalitarianism.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011, c2010
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780374211974
Characteristics: [xi], 390 p. : maps ; 24 cm


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Jul 29, 2011

An extremely well-read historian reading Molotov's comments on Churchill's assessment of Molotov. And such like, all through Molotov's personal library. Intricate Matryushka dolls of Russian cultural history inside Russian political history inside Russian geographical history. If you like the insider's point of view, or know even a little bit about Moscow, this book is for you.

Jun 08, 2011

Amazing, incredible. If you like Russian novels, if you like books and libraries in general, you will LOVE this book. I have never read anything like it.


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