1920 Diary

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Overview

This diary by the famed twentieth-century Russian writer recounts Babel's experiences with the Cossack cavalry during the Polish-Soviet war of 1919-1920. The basis for Red Cavalry, Babel's best-known work, it records the devastation of the war, the extreme cruelty of the Polish and Red armies alike toward the Jewish population in the Ukraine and eastern Poland, and Babel's own conflicted role as both Soviet revolutionary and Jew.
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Editorial Reviews

Harold Bloom
A precursor of Holocaust literature,and more powerful in its effect than any Holocaust literature that I have managed to read.
New York Times Book Review
Richard Bernstein
The diary is of far more than historical interest. It is brilliant in itself,a gem of compressed,unsparing,truthful observation.
Herald Tribune
Cynthia Ozick
An electrifying translation accompanied by an indispensable introduction. . . . Babel’s journey is a Jewish lamentation . . . a tragic masterwork.
The New Republic
Gabriele Annan
All through the Diary,Babel deplores Russian gloom,inertia,incompetence and squalor,the last two defects shared by the Cossacks. His own amazement and glee at being where he is,doing what he does,putting up with what he puts up with,are too intoxicating to be suppressed by his tragic insights. The impact is stunning.
London Review of Books
Donald Winkler
These diaries,vividly translated by H.T. Willetts,show us what Babel saw through his unblinking eyes.
The Montreal Gazette
Gabriele Annan
All through the Diary, Babel deplores Russian gloom, inertia, incompetence and squalor, the last two defects shared by the Cossacks. His own amazement and glee at being where he is, doing what he does, putting up with what he puts up with, are too intoxicating to be suppressed by his tragic insights. The impact is stunning.
London Review of Books
Donald Winkler
These diaries, vividly translated by H.T. Willetts, show us what Babel saw through his unblinking eyes.
The Montreal Gazette
Boston Globe
One of the great retrieved manuscripts of twentieth-century literature.
Chicago Tribune
The 1920 Diary exhibits the transformation of the brilliant, bookish Babel into a half-reluctant, half-enchanted Cossack, an outsider turned inside out.
Andrew Berg
Brought to light in the last years of the glasnost and finally translated into English, Babel's 1920 Diary ... is an astounding book. In sparse, artfully fractured language, it documents an orgy of ethnic violence and provides a window on a culture which in 20 short years would be extinct ... Isaac Babel's 1920 Diary is a gripping visit to a lost world. Few readers will return from it unfazed.
Detour Magazine
Thomas Hove
Highly worthwhile.
Review of Contemporary Fiction
Zev Ben Shlomo
Effective both in its power of description and as a historical record.
Jewish Chronicle
Zsuzsa Hetenyi
A praiseworthy contribution to the Babel scholarship.
Studies in Contemporary Jewry
Mordechae Beck
For those not familiar with Babel this is a marvelous introduction. For those who already have Babel on their bookshelf, this diary is like meeting a favorite author afresh. A wonderful, if necessarily complex, encounter.
The Jerusalem Post
Harold Bloom
More powerful in its effec than any Holocaust literature that I have managed to read.
New York Times Book Review
Richard Bernstein
Brilliant…A gem of compressed, unsparing, truthful observation….Like [Red Cavalry] stories, the Diary is full of the sudden mingling of lyricism and brutality.
New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300093131
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 194
  • Sales rank: 964,339
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.45 (d)

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