Published in the spring of 1996 by Basic Books in New York and I. B. Tauris in London
The definitive biography of the world-famous writer who survived five decades of Communism and whose life symbolizes the dilemma of Russian intellectuals in this century
Ilya Ehrenburg is one of the most important and controversial Russian cultural forces of the twentieth century, whose life spanned the tumultuous time from Lenin to Brezhnev. He was one of the few distinguished writers to survive Stalin. As a Jew, Ehrenburg is said to have betrayed his people; as a writer, his talent; as a man, his conscience. Tangled Loyalties cuts through rumor and accusation to explore the paradoxes of Ehrenburg's career and illuminate intellectual life under communism.
In rich and vivid detail, drawing extensively on Ehrenburg's memoirs and writings and on the recollections of his family and friends, Tangled Loyalties uncovers the man behind this controversial life. The young Bolshevik who turned anti-communist and then, two decades later, became a spokesman for Stalin. The assimilated Jew who fought anti-Semitism. The Russian patriot who was denounced by Communists as a foreigner and by Hitler as his main enemy. The journalist who reached the peak of his official prestige under Stalin at a time when close friends were arrested and disappeared.
Ehrenburg embodies the moral complexities of this turbulent time. His survival required almost daily acts of political calculation, yet he held on to his integrity: Ehrenburg helped artists and friends - including Anna Akhamtova, Osip Mandelstam, and Boris Pasternak; battled censorship; and championed European art in Moscow.
Rubenstein neither condemns nor apologizes for Ehrenburg. Instead he portrays him as a man of great gifts whose life reflected all of the dilemmas of a Russian intellectual under communism. This major biography will provoke controversy and rekindle interest in one of the century's most intriguing intellectuals.
Cover drawing of Ilya Ehrenburg by Picasso
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