EMERGENCY EXIT by Ignazio Silone


Email this review


Silone on the continent, Koestler in England--in the post-war years these were the two exemplary ex-Communists who taught us most about the god that failed. Silone was the humanist par excellence, the former member of the Italian CP, the ranking anti-fascist whose many interludes in the Soviet Union ended in disgust and despair around the time of the Moscow Trials. The title essay in this collection is, of course, his classic account of political disillusionment, of libertarian naivete and Bolshevik cynicism, of Trotsky, Togliatti, Stalin: ""It is not easy to free oneself from so intense an experience as Communism. Something of it always remains to mark one's character the rest of one's life."" Silone, however, is not a complex thinker, and the essays assembled here--some memoirs of early conflicts with rightist hypocrisy and tyranny, some theoretical arias on Budapest or ""Re-thinking Progress""--go through their paces like gallant packhorses struggling honestly in the heat of the day while above them jet-age dialectics race and shimmer across the sky. The New Left, the inexhaustibly pirouetting Sartre, the Third World--all these make Silone a faded hero.

Pub Date: Nov. 6th, 1968
Publisher: Harper & Row