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

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


By (author) Peter Finn, By (author) Petra Couvee

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  • Publisher: HARVILL SECKER
  • Format: Paperback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 232mm x 34mm | 380g
  • Publication date: 19 June 2014
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1846558859
  • ISBN 13: 9781846558856
  • Sales rank: 191,413

Product description

1956. Boris Pasternak presses a manuscript into the hands of an Italian publishing scout with these words: 'This is Doctor Zhivago. May it make its way around the world.' Pasternak knew his novel would never be published in the Soviet Union as the authorities regarded it as seditious, so, instead, he allowed it to be published in translation all over the world - a highly dangerous act. 1958. The life of this extraordinary book enters the realms of the spy novel. The CIA, recognising that the Cold War was primarily an ideological battle, published Doctor Zhivago in Russian and smuggled it into the Soviet Union. It was immediately snapped up on the black market. Pasternak was later forced to renounce the Nobel Prize in Literature, igniting worldwide political scandal. With sole access to otherwise classified CIA files, The Zhivago Affair gives an irresistible portrait of Pasternak, and takes us deep into the Cold War, back to a time when literature had the power to shake the world.

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Author information

Peter Finn (Author) PETER FINN is national security editor for The Washington Post and previously served as the Post's bureau chief in Moscow. Petra Couvee (Author) PETRA COUVEE is a writer and translator, and teaches at Saint Petersburg State University.

Review quote

"A galloping page-turner and a stark picture of a nation ruled by terror and unreason, which reads like a sinister rewrite of Alice in Wonderland" -- John Carey Sunday Times "Packed with fascinating detail ... vibrant authenticity and calm analysis" -- Claire Morrall Independent on Sunday "Fascinating... [Finn and Couvee] manage to shed new light on both the period and the characters involved" -- Virginia Rounding Financial Times "A compelling, seductively written tale of Cold War censorship and paranoia" -- Kate Williams Independent "Excellent, superbly researched, and as exciting in its way as any Cold War thriller. Pasternak himself emerges clearly and strongly in all his complexity. This was the most important literary controversy of the post-war world, and Finn and Couvee have presented it with immense care and colour. The aftermath of the affair still has resonance even now" -- John Simpson