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

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jun 17, 2014 - 352 pages

Drawing on newly declassified government files, this is the dramatic story of how a forbidden book in the Soviet Union became a secret CIA weapon in the ideological battle between East and West.
 
In May 1956, an Italian publishing scout took a train to a village just outside Moscow to visit Russia’s greatest living poet, Boris Pasternak. He left carrying the original 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 was unlikely ever to be published in the Soviet Union, where the authorities regarded it as an irredeemable assault on the 1917 Revolution. But he thought it stood a chance in the West and, indeed, beginning in Italy, Doctor Zhivago was widely published in translation throughout the world.
 
From there the life of this extraordinary book entered the realm of the spy novel. The CIA, which recognized that the Cold War was above all an ideological battle, published a Russian-language edition of Doctor Zhivago and smuggled it into the Soviet Union. Copies were devoured in Moscow and Leningrad, sold on the black market, and passed surreptitiously from friend to friend. Pasternak’s funeral in 1960 was attended by thousands of admirers who defied their government to bid him farewell. The example he set launched the great tradition of the writer-dissident in the Soviet Union.
 
In The Zhivago Affair, Peter Finn and Petra Couvée bring us intimately close to this charming, passionate, and complex artist. First to obtain CIA files providing concrete proof of the agency’s involvement, the authors give us a literary thriller that takes us back to a fascinating period of the Cold War—to a time when literature had the power to stir the world.

(With 8 pages of black-and-white illustrations.)




From the Hardcover edition.
 

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User Review  - PCorrigan - LibraryThing

Very interesting read, especially for those with an interest in Russian literature and history. Can't add much to the excellent reviews, but I would definitely concur. This is a fascinating and little ... Read full review

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User Review  - gypsysmom - LibraryThing

I listened to this book which was read by the inestimable Simon Vance. In fact, the fact that Simon Vance was the narrator was the main reason for choosing this audiobook. I wonder how long he had to ... Read full review

Contents

Title Page
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
culture
Chapter 6
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Afterword
Bibliography

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About the author (2014)

Peter Finn is National Security Editor for The Washington Post and previously served as the Post’s bureau chief in Moscow.
 
Petra Couvée is a writer and translator and teaches at Saint Petersburg State University.

The Zhivago Affair is their first collaboration together.




From the Hardcover edition.

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