The Zhivago Affair
Ulverscroft, 2016 - 384 pages
Drawing on newly declassified files, this is the story of how a book forbidden in the Soviet Union became a secret CIA weapon in the ideological battle between East and West. In May 1956, an Italian publishing scout paid a visit to Russia's greatest living poet, Boris Pasternak. He left carrying the manuscript of Pasternak's first and only novel, entrusted to him with these words: "This is Doctor Zhivago. May it make its way around the world." Pasternak believed his novel would never be published in the Soviet Union, where the authorities regarded it as irredeemable--but he thought it stood a chance in the West and, indeed, it was widely published in translation. Then the CIA smuggled a Russian-language edition into the Soviet Union. Copies were sold on the black market and passed surreptitiously from friend to friend, and Pasternak found himself in no small trouble. But his funeral in 1960 was attended by thousands of admirers who defied their government in order to bid him farewell. The example he set launched the great tradition of the Soviet writer-dissident.