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Fear No Evil

4.39  ·  Rating Details ·  251 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Temperamentally and intellectually, Natan Sharansky is a man very much like many of us—which makes this account of his arrest on political grounds, his trial, and ten years' imprisonment in the Orwellian universe of the Soviet gulag particularly vivid and resonant.

Since Fear No Evil was originally published in 1988, the Soviet government that imprisoned Sharansky has col
Paperback, 464 pages
Published November 27th 1998 by PublicAffairs (first published 1988)
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Nov 01, 2014 Hana rated it it was amazing
Memories of the world behind the Iron Curtain are fading, and it is easy to forget that millions of people lived for decades trapped in a system that denied them even the most basic freedoms. Sharansky and his 'Refusnik' friends were among those courageous enough, perhaps crazy enough, to challenge an oppressive and all-powerful totalitarian government. Their struggles showed the free world the truth about the Soviet empire.

On March 4, 1977, a full-page article in Izvestia accused Anatoly Shara
So I'm watching Hell's Kitchen the other night, one of the few, if not the only, reality show I like (though I'm enjoying it less and less every year). Anyway, a contestant sprained her ankle and hobbled around in obvious pain while cooking that night. At the end, when the jerk chef is deciding which shmuck to kick off the show, the injured contestant withdraws due to her injury. Which causes the jerk chef, other contestants, and narrator to wax poetic paeans to her courage and bravery for cooki ...more
Leora Wenger
Mar 05, 2011 Leora Wenger rated it really liked it
Shelves: jewish
It took me a while to get into the book (there were details of the how the Soviet Union society operated that I glossed over), but once I got to know Sharansky as a person and could relate to him, I was hooked. I was fascinated by how he used chess and solving a chess problem as a way to cope while in a punishment cell. His wife Avital was truly amazing, bringing his case to officials all over the Western world. I wasn't clear why he needed to go on so many hunger strikes, but they seemed to hel ...more
Jan 21, 2009 Maren rated it it was amazing
If I had to make a "must read" list this book would be at or near the top. It is an important book. It will remind us why freedom is important above all, and how an encroaching ever-expanding government can become oppressive under our very noses.
David Karpel
Aug 08, 2012 David Karpel rated it it was amazing
A must read. Sharansky's self-discipline and focus of mind is humbling and inspiring. The fearsome KGB is merely an opponent on the other side of a chess board he plays like a master because consistently he keeps in mind the ultimate truth of his position.
Mar 03, 2013 Mich rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, jewish
The indomitable strength of this man and the sustaining love for his wife and hers for him is the signal hallmark of this book. In a way, it evokes the spirit of Unbroken .
Paul Belanger
Interesting story. Some of the stuff he does to the KGB is downright hilarious. Well written.
Nancy Head
Jan 17, 2017 Nancy Head rated it it was amazing
An excellent account of Sharansky's trial, time in prison/camp/punishment cells, and release to Israel. A worthy read.
Apr 23, 2008 Steve rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed the book, though it is very troubling- especially in light of current events where governments continue to oppress those with beliefs and views outside of what the government considers to be mainstream.

Here's the publisher's review:

Every tour through the irrational labyrinth of the gulagthe Soviet prison system turns up new horrors, new injustices, new quirks concerning the human will to survive. Sharansky spent nine years in Soviet prisons and labor camps. The KGB, in punishment for his
Sep 14, 2011 Shalom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Natan's Sharansky story is one that we have heard bits and pieces about over the years but we never fully understood the struggle of the Russian refusenik. It was well written and enjoyable. The story begins with some of his human rights "rebellious" activity, being tailed by the KGB and quickly progresses to his time locked up in a multitude of Russian prisons. The story continues relating his refusal to cooperate with the KGB and his eventual release. I feel that the major political drama occu ...more
Gabriella Hoffman
Aug 14, 2016 Gabriella Hoffman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: planning-to-read
Took me a while to read this, since I went back and forth between books, but I finally finished this book. At times it was hard to read given certain difficult parts, but Sharansky's wit and optimism helped me get through the not-so pleasant parts. I was able to relate to the book and his struggles since my family experienced similar persecution in the USSR. It was a good book and I definitely recommend it to those who wish to learn more about the horrors of Soviet communism. 5/5!
Jul 01, 2016 Charles rated it really liked it
I especially liked his comment:

“Without firm moral principles it was impossible to withstand the pressure of the KGB. If you’re a captive of your own fear, you’ll not only believe any nonsense, but you’ll even invent nonsense of your own to justify your behavior.” ~ Natan Sharansky pg. 297 “Fear no evil”
Aug 10, 2011 Sue rated it really liked it
It's really scary that this sort of thing actually happens - and happened during my lifetime! Normally I think of the Gulag as being earlier in the 20th century. Who knows what is going on right now? Books like this show why they government cannot be allowed to become so powerful that people lose all their freedoms. That's why I am a staunch conservative. Sharansky is definitely a hero.
Mark Dunn
Jan 10, 2017 Mark Dunn rated it it was amazing
There are living hero's MR Sharansky is one such person. I read the book over twenty years ago. The world has lost the idea of a hero. Now day's some whiny brat at a university is a hero because he hates capitalism or wears a dress.
Jan 31, 2012 Tamara rated it it was ok
Definitely interesting, glad I read it. It's a translation - so the prose are pretty simple and the narrative isn't all that compelling - but I didn't find it a huge trudge. I've had this on my shelf for years so I'm happy to have finally gotten to it!
Judy Serreze
Jan 20, 2013 Judy Serreze rated it it was amazing
This is an inspiring book for those people looking for a reason to take a stand with their life against evil in the world. He was a role-model par excellence!
Apr 05, 2013 Debby rated it liked it
Didn't get all the way through this, but I am intrigued. This is a book about a Jewish Russian dissident in the 80's.
Jul 03, 2014 Katerina rated it really liked it
Very moving. More interesting than I bought it would be. Read in on the plane. Better than any self help book. (Except Happiness Project.)
Sharon Zink
Dec 28, 2011 Sharon Zink rated it really liked it
Clear and interesting account of a Jewish man's arrest and imprisonment in the Soviet Gulag system in the 1980's and of his eventual release and journey to Israel.
Mar 15, 2007 Igor rated it it was amazing
This was a formative book for me in my teens. I reread it again about a year ago and still found it inspiring
Sophia Bar-Lev
Sophia Bar-Lev rated it it was amazing
Aug 04, 2013
Jason rated it it was amazing
Oct 30, 2011
Phillip Auberden
Phillip Auberden rated it it was amazing
Jun 10, 2014
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Nava U rated it it was amazing
Jun 10, 2013
Georgia rated it liked it
Dec 20, 2008
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Feb 04, 2010
Martin rated it it was amazing
May 12, 2013
Cinda rated it liked it
Mar 23, 2012
Ben rated it it was amazing
Oct 04, 2012
Renee Colangeli
Renee Colangeli rated it liked it
May 23, 2014
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Anatoly Borisovich Shcharansky (later Natan Sharanky) was born in Stalino, Soviet Union on January 20, 1948 to a Jewish family. He graduated with a degree in applied mathematics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. As a child, he was a chess prodigy. He performed in simultaneous and blindfold displays, usually against adults. At the age of 15, he won the championship in his native Done ...more
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“The Americans have their spies here, and we have our people over there. You, however, are not simply a spy. You’re a Soviet citizen—and a traitor. An entirely different fate awaits you.” 0 likes
“thought of this introductory part of the interrogation as the Manilov-Chichikov routine, after the characters in Gogol’s Dead Souls who dawdled at great length at the door, each trying to let the other enter first. But whereas in Gogol’s novel the two men eventually went through the door together, I never permitted myself to violate the etiquette of the investigation.” 0 likes
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