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In his polemic, Nobel laureate Solzhenitsyn is becoming more fanatical with each foray down from his Vermont mountain. His single-mindedness is here set on the distinction between the organism that is Russia and the disease which affects it, Soviet Communism. Reprinted from the Spring 1980 issue of Foreign Affairs, this short diatribe is directed at scholars, correspondents, and even Soviet émigrés who conspire, albeit unwittingly, in a specious blurring of this distinction. Solzhenitsyn's attacks on the likes of Harvard's Richard Pipes for creating the myth of the Russian character—whether understood as docile or aggressive—are well taken; but Solzhenitsyn is in the myth business himself. Ignoring the other peoples of the USSR, Solzhenitsyn's dream is of a purified Russia left alone with its ancient orthodoxy—purged, of course, of the atheistic communist heresy. Responding to his critics, Solzhenitsyn denies being a reactionary or a mystic, or even anti-Semitic (he simply believes in the return of Russian Jews—a misnomer, in his view—to their homeland, Israel). The reactionary side is there, though, in his idealization of pre-Bolshevik Russia, as yet untainted by the West's materialism, where toleration and Christian principles supposedly reigned supreme, an idealization that carefully ignores blemishes like orthodox-inspired pogroms or the cruel illiteracy of the vast peasantry and their domination by the Church. Solzhenitsyn's organic nationalism lays behind his dogmatic rhetoric, however much obscured.

Pub Date: June 18, 1980

ISBN: 0060908823

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1980

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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