1920 Diary Biography
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Product Description

Published in English for the first time, this is the most significant account of the tragedy befallen European Jewry during this period, in which Babel frequently disguised his own Jewish identity while mingling with the victimized Jews of the region's shtetls, and with his Cossack friends. B&W photos. 126p. Pap.

Editorial Reviews

Published in English for the first time, this slender work records noted Russian writer Babel's experiences as a correspondent with a troop of Cossacks during the Russo-Polish war (1919-1920). Amid the destruction and cruelty, perhaps the most compelling factor here is Babel himself: apparently hiding his Jewish identity, at times deeply moved by the Jewish communities he visits, at others distancing himself as a "Russian" from their petty concerns and real sufferings, he tells them "fairy tales" (which he does not believe) about the achievements and future of the revolution and is both fascinated and repulsed by the Cossacks and their violence and awed by the "un-Russian" cleanliness and culture of the Poles. Most entries are brief, telegraphic notes to spur the memory and call out scenes or people to be described later. The diary in fact became the basis for Cavalerie Rouge (1983); readers familiar with those stories will find the relation between Babel's first impressions and the finished work fascinating.?Richard Kuczkowski, Dominican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y. Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information.

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