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“Live not by lies,” was the advice that Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (born December 11, 1918) gave his compatriots when they asked him how to stand up to the crushing might of the Soviet Union.  He did not seek an open confrontation with the regime.  Neither resistance nor violence could succeed in the face of a remorseless killing machine.  Individuals would simply…

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s final novel, The Brothers Karamazov, has rightly earned its place among the greatest books of all time. It warrants this stature in no small part because it addresses questions and problems that lie at the heart of what it means to be human. Dostoevsky’s political insights of this novel are among his most profound and instructive for people of…

Ukraine and Russian Neo-Imperialism: The Divergent Break. Ostap Kushnir. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2018.
 
Since the end of the Cold War, Ukraine has neither transition to a European-style democracy and economy nor has it become a one-party state and planted firmly in the Russian orbit. After the Cold War Ukraine declared itself a neutral state and then in 1994 formed limited…

Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party. A. James McAdams. Princeton University Press, 2017.
 
James McAdams has provided a compendious but readable account of communist parties from 1848 until now when he claims communist parties have died or withered away. McAdams, in my opinion rightly, does not consider the dynastic authoritarianism of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and…

March 1917: The Red Wheel. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017.
 
Historians like Eric Hobsbawn had argued that the Russian Revolution was the seminal event of the twentieth century: “for “a mere thirty to forty years after Lenin’s arrival at the Finland Station in Petrograd, one third of humanity found itself living under regimes directly derived from…

March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 1. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017.
 
The Bolshevik coup d’état of October 25 (November 7 according to the Western calendar), 1917, is known the whole world over as the Russian Revolution. It is nearly universally considered to be either a liberating event or a catastrophic one, but one…

Personally, I require a ceiling, although a high one. Yes, I like ceilings, and the high better than the low. In literature I think there are low-ceiling masterpieces—Crime and Punishment, for instance—and high-ceiling masterpieces, Remembrance of Things Past.
—Artur Sammler, in Saul Bellow’s Mr. Sammler’s Planet (1969), 151.
 
No one doubts that Crime and Punishment has a prominent place in the pantheon…

Giving the Devil His Due: Demonic Authority in the Fiction of Flannery O’Connor and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Jessica Hooten Wilson. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, 2017.
 
Giving the Devil His Due is a book that grew out of Professor Wilson’s dissertation written under the guidance of the O’Connor scholar, Ralph Wood, at Baylor University.
It is clearly a wonderful idea to put O’Connor and…

Walker Percy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and the Search for Influence. Jessica Hooten Wilson. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 2017.
 
When suffering from tuberculosis and confined to a sanatorium, Percy read Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground which led him to question whether science could answer life’s existential questions. This experience eventually led to Percy’s conversion to Catholicism and career as a novelist.…

As Isaiah Berlin once noted, Fyodor Dostoevsky is perhaps the most “centripetal” of all Russian writers.1 This is to say that all of his thoughts and inquiries ultimately gravitated toward addressing one central question: can human society exist without God? Famously, Dostoevsky was pessimistic about this. However, instead of relying upon theological or rational justifications for the role of religion…