Dangerous Thoughts: Memoirs of a Russian Life

Yuri Orlov, Author, Thomas P. Whitney, Translator William Morrow & Company $21 (348p) ISBN 978-0-688-10471-9
In a gripping autobiography, Soviet human rights activist Orlov, now a physicist at Cornell University, offers a searing glimpse of Russia's tragic 20th century. His childhood village destroyed by Stalinist collectivization, the author, a factory worker during WW II, gradually became disillusioned with communism. His call for democracy in 1956 earned him exile to Armenia. Returning to Moscow in 1972, he rallied to the support of Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn, defending freedom of speech and religion. Arrested by the KGB in 1977, Orlov was sent to a labor camp, and in 1984, as a political exile, was shunted to an Arctic village. His freedom was secured as part of President Reagan's swap involving a Soviet spy and American journalist Nicholas Daniloff, falsely accused of espionage. In an understated literary masterpiece shot through with pungent Gorkyesque realism, Orlov lambastes Gorbachev for being ``unable to confront the total bankruptcy of his old faith.'' Author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 06/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 978-0-385-24544-9
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