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

Front Cover
Random House, 2014 M06 19 - 384 pages

The story of a forbidden book that became a symbol of freedom and rebellion in the battle between East and West.

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 first access to previously 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.


A Spectator and Sunday Times Book of the Year

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - alanteder - LibraryThing

The Book That Came In From the Cold Review of the Vintage paperback edition (April 2015) of the original Pantheon hardcover edition (June 2014) I enjoyed the fictionalized version of The Zhivago ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

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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About the author (2014)

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 COUVÉE is a writer and translator, and teaches at Saint Petersburg State University.

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