Twenty Letters To A Friend by Svetlana Alliluyeva soon to be presented for sale on the wonderful BookLovers of Bath web site!
Published: Hutchinson, 1967, Hardback in dust wrapper.
From the cover: So much has already been said and written about Svetlana Alliluyevas masterpiece, so dramatic and even sensational have been the circumstances attending its publication, that it is necessary to establish one fact at the outset. This is the only full, authentic text, written by Stalins daughter in 1963; smuggled to India; retrieved by the author when she left Russia early in 1967 and taken by her, first to Switzerland and then to the USA; entrusted by her to Priscilla Johnson for translation into English; and, after the closest collaboration with the translator, authorised by Svetlana.
Following legal action in this country and elsewhere to stop unauthorised publication, an edition was authorised to appear in the United Kingdom in the Russian language in order to establish the authors copyright. Thus it came about that readers of Russian in Britain were the first to read this absorbing document. It was a revelation. Unanimously, those qualified to judge proclaimed it a masterpiece. As a writer Svetlana Alliluyeva has already been ranked with Turgenev, Tolstoy, Chekov and Pasternak.
She presents in these pages an unforgettable picture of her childhood spent in the Kremlin; of the deterioration of a happy family life until it became a grim and fearful tragedy; of her contact as she grew up with many of the famous Soviet figures of the age Voroshilov, Malenkov, Khrushchev, the villainous Beria; of her own friendships and loves in an atmosphere poisoned by bodyguards and secret police; above all, she presents a masterly portrait of Stalin himself. This extraordinary man, one of the giants of the twentieth century, becomes here for the first time a creature of flesh and blood, an all too human being, whose attitude to his family swung from warm love to tyrannical and brutal treatment. Yet Svetlana herself and this is one of the qualities that makes reading her book such a moving experience is steadfast and unwavering in her love for her father, while critical of his deeds. She loves her country, which used to be Holy Russia and is now a land in an agony of unhappiness and spiritual starvation, from which this gifted, attractive, passionately sincere woman can never cut herself adrift.
Svetlanas absorbing memoir is truly a book for which the world has been waiting. It is a chapter of history that had to be written. It is also and almost incidentally the literary event of our generation.
Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Edges of the text block lightly tanned.
Orange boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 256 pages. 8½” x 5½”.