VIXI: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger

Richard Pipes, Author . Yale Univ. $30 (264p) ISBN 978-0-300-10165-2

In this excellent, well-crafted autobiography, Pipes (Communism: A History ) emerges as an opinionated scholar committed to telling the truth as he sees it. A professor emeritus of history at Harvard who served on the National Security Council during the Reagan administration, he recollects the major events and considerable achievements of his very interesting life. Life as a 16-year-old Jewish teenager in Poland came to an abrupt halt when WWII broke out. With his parents, he fled Warsaw and escaped through Italy, arriving in the U.S. in 1940. After a tour in the American army, Pipes, having obtained a B.A. degree from Cornell, enrolled in Harvard as a graduate student. He successfully evokes the heady university atmosphere and recounts his successful scholarly career. Pipes became a specialist in Russian history, serving as a professor for nearly 40 years, during which time he earned a reputation as a "cold warrior" who sharply criticized the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, a country he compared to Nazi Germany. This point of view, conveyed though publications and lectures, earned him a consulting position with the Stanford Research Institute, which eventually led to the NSC appointment. He provides sharply etched portraits of Ronald Reagan, Alexander Haig and others, in addition to engrossing accounts of the quixotic decision-making process of statesmen that are remarkable both for their penetrating analysis and disarming honesty. Pipes returned to Harvard in 1983; now retired from teaching, he is working on an intellectual history of Russia. Illus. not seen by PW . (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/20/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-0-300-10965-8
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