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Semën Kanatchikov, born in a central Russian village in 1879, was one of the thousands of peasants who made the transition from traditional village life to the life of an urban factory worker in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the last years of the nineteenth century. Unlike the others, however, he recorded his personal and political experiences (up to the even of the 1905 Revolution) in an autobiography. First published in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, this memoir gives us the richest and most thoughtful firsthand account we have of life among the urban lower classes in Imperial Russia.W
How did Andrei Sakharov, a theoretical physicist and the acknowledged father of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, become a human rights activist and the first Russian to win the Nobel Peace Prize? In his later years, Sakharov noted in his diary that he was “simply a man with an unusual fate.” To understand this deceptively straightforward statement by an extraordinary man, The World of Andrei Sakharov, the first authoritative study of Andrei Sakharov as a scientist as well as a public figure, relies on previously inaccessible documents, recently declassified archives, and personal accounts by Sakharov’s friends and colleagues to examine the real context of Sakharov’s life.
In the course of doing so, Gennady Gorelik answers a fascinating question, whether the Soviet hydrogen bomb was really fathered by Sakharov, or whether it was based on stolen American secrets. Gorelik concludes that while espionage did initiate the Soviet effort, the Russian hydrogen bomb was invented independently. Gorelik also elucidates the reasons that brought about the seemingly sudden transformation of the top-secret physicist into a public figure in 1968, when Sakharov’s famous essay “Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom” was distributed in samizdat in the USSR and smuggled out to the West. Recently declassified documents show that Sakharov’s metamorphosis was caused by professional concerns, particularly regarding the development of an anti-ballistic missile defense. An insider’s view of how the upper echelons of the Soviet regime functioned had led Sakharov to the conclusion that the goals of peace, progress, and human rights were inextricably linked. His free thinking and free feeling were manifested in his hope that scientific thought and religious perception would find a profound synthesis in the future.
Carl von Clausewitz’s On War, is generally considered the greatest text on military theory ever written. Clausewitz is a touchstone for the field today, and is read by scholars, students, and military personnel around the world. And yet to Clausewitz himself, far more important than achieving recognition for his scholarly and theoretical contributions was achieving glory on the field of battle-winning renown not with his pen but with his sword.Military historian Donald Stoker’s perceptive biography of Carl von Clausewitz moves skillfully between Clausewitz’s career as a solider and his work as a theoretician and author, exploring the composition of On War and other works while also emphasizing the many military engagements in which Clausewitz fought.
Required reading for fans of Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia-the landmark investigation into Russian history and thought Few, if any, English-language critics have written as perceptively as Isaiah Berlin about Russian thought and culture. Russian Thinkers is his unique meditation on the impact that Russia’s outstanding writers and philosophers had on its culture. In addition to Tolstoy’s philosophy of history, which he addresses in his most famous essay, "The Hedgehog and the Fox," Berlin considers the social and political circumstances that produced such men as Herzen, Bakunin, Turgenev, Belinsky, and others of the Russian intelligentsia, who made up, as Berlin describes, "the largest single Russian contribution to social change in the world.&
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