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Two essays by Solzhenitsyn, with a counterpoint of contributions from six other underground writers who still live in the Soviet Union. Solzhenitsyn is utterly eloquent and utterly bound up in his religious commitment. The Soviets must adopt inwardness and self-restriction: "It requires from each individual a moral step within his power—no more than that. . . . The nation is mystically welded together in a community of guilt, and its inescapable destiny is common repentance. . . . unless we recover the gift of repentance, our country will perish and will drag down the whole world with it." Solzhenitsyn warns the Russians against abetting a Vietnamese revolution and claims that Willy Brandt's "spiritual" opening toward the East bloc was met by "grasping political greed" on the other side. He stresses that the "Russians" must adopt "nil growth" in production and recommends the "Club of Rome arithmetic" sponsored by Gianni Agnelli The other pieces, edited by Solzhenitsyn, are relatively one-dimensional: Mikhail Agursky attacks Communism for "stimulating consumption," a writer called "A. B." adds a commendation of "the abstinent spirit," F. Korsakov cites "the intelligentsia's nonsensical moralism." "Godless humanism which is destroying mankind" receives attack by Evgeny Sarabanov, while a glorification of spiritual revival and national personality by Vadim Borisov recalls nothing so much as volkisch German tracts. Igor Shaferivich winds up with a blast against the notion of progress and a plea for sacrifice. The writers' concept of religion as an ascetic, anti-liberal force—the opposite of expansive concern for all human beings—is, as they themselves stress, a very Russian one. Solzhenitsyn's name and expository power will reach, but not necessarily convert, a broad readership.

Pub Date: June 23, 1975

ISBN: 0895268906

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1975

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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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