NOTES FOR A JOURNAL by Maxim Litvinov


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The personal memoirs of Maxim Litvinov, People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs from 1930-1939, and Ambassador to Washington after losing his secretariat to Molotov, are seemingly a mixture of fact, fraud and fantasy. Upon the proportions of these elements depends the final importance of the memoirs, but even if entirely spurious- they are interesting. Only someone with the closest knowledge of Russia's internal affairs could have prepared these memoirs, and the likelihood that Litvinov himself made substantial contributions to the text is great. The translator points out isolated passages which are dubious, and is convinced that another hand went into much of the writing. The truth may never be known. ""Litvinov's"" notes, full of unaccountable ellipses and always broken and disjointed, were apparently entrusted to his lifelong friend Alexandra Kollontai, who upon her death in 1952 (when Litvinov also died) succeeded in having the manuscript transmitted to Paris and there made available for publication. Scandalous bits take a suspiciously prominent role, but policy in foreign affairs and the problems of Germany and the Far East are treated extensively. An authentic note for the book is struck by the constant loyalty of Litvinov to Stalin. A bonanza to the politically speculative, and a permanent challenge to the historical sleuth.

Publisher: Morrow