A Taste for Freedom: The Life of Astophe de Custine

Overview

Astolphe de Custine's Russia in 1839 was called "the best guide to Russia ever written;" essential to understanding Stalin and the Soviet Union. Astolphe was a son of the French Revolution, whose father and grandfather had been guillotined and whose mother had been imprisoned.

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Overview

Astolphe de Custine's Russia in 1839 was called "the best guide to Russia ever written;" essential to understanding Stalin and the Soviet Union. Astolphe was a son of the French Revolution, whose father and grandfather had been guillotined and whose mother had been imprisoned.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A contemporary of Napoleon, Balzac, and Chateaubriand, Astolphe de Custine (1790-1857) achieved fame with his book La Russie en 1839. An unconventional aristocrat who managed to survive the French Revolution, Custine lived openly for most of his life with his partner, Edouard Sainte-Barbe, and wrote a series of unextraordinary books. But after a trip to Russia, he wrote unflinchingly of the fear, violence, and despotism there and thereby achieved fame. Today, many critics consider La Russie en 1839 one of the best books ever written about Russia, offering insights that are both emotional, rational, and prophetic of the Stalin regime. Muhlstein, who won the French Prix Goncourt for this biography in 1996, quotes liberally from Custine's letters and writings, revealing much about the man who became a prominent opponent to abuses of political, social, and moral authority. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.--Robert Kelly, Fort Wayne Community Schs., IN Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Benjamin Anastas
Quite apart from its sheer entertainment value, which is considerable, Ms. Muhlstein's biography provides an engaging portrait of life in the various salons of 19th-century Europe, where pettiness and tolerance sometimes ruled in equal measure.

The New York Observer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781885983411
  • Publisher: Turtle Point Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Pages: 291
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Anka Muhlstein's lively biography, translated by Teresa Waugh, introduces American readers to Astolphe de Custine, a passionalte literary figure, a poet, playwright, essayist, traveler, aristocrat and homosexual adventurer.

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