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Savage Shorthand: The Life and Death of Isaac Babel
Hailed as the first great Soviet writer, Isaac Babel was at once a product and a victim of violent revolution. In tales of Cossack marauders and flashy Odessa gangsters, he perfectly captured the raw, edgy mood of the first years of the Russian Revolution. Masked, reckless, impassioned, charismatic, Babel himself was as fascinating as the characters he created. At last, in ...more
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Aug 20, 2009 Bibliophile rated it liked it
Isaac Babel was one of a number of great Russian writers who were silenced - both literally and metaphorically in the case of Babel and Osip Mandelstam - by Stalin's regime. Perhaps nothing could have saved him from the executioner's bullet in the cellar of the Moscow's Lubyanka, but it surely didn't help matters that he had once had an affair with the wife of Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the NKVD during the great purges of the mid-1930s. (In a fitting display of dramatic irony, Yezhov's own life ...more
I am enthralled - it's a story of one man, but also an era - I am learning so much about Stalin. It is the perfect book to read after I finally had the chance to see The Pianist. I am reading it on iPad, which is perfect, because I can bookmark all the wonderful lines I want to remember. "Stalin surrounded himself with half-men and hacks."
Jerome Charyn was born and raised on the mean streets of the Bronx. He graduated cum laude from Columbia College. He has taught at Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, Rice, was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the City University of New York and is currently Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the American University of Paris. Charyn is a Guggenheim Fellow and has twice won fellowships from the Nati ...moreMore about Jerome Charyn...