Memoirs of a Survivor: The Golitsyn Family in Stalin's Russia

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The Golitsyns were one of Russia's most powerful families until the revolution turned their world upside down and life became a battle for survival. Like Leo Tolstoy, Sergei Golitsyn weaves a family saga—of love and happiness, terror and endurance—while also drawing a panoramic picture of a world that was about to be destroyed.

In 1917, Golitsyn was just eight years old, his head full of stories about knights in shining armor, but the reality was a bowl of gruel for supper and panic when there was a knock at the door. He longed to be a writer, but in fear of his life he fled Moscow to work on remote construction sites deep in Siberia before fighting with the Red Army across Europe to Berlin. Written in secret, his memoirs paint a rich and colouful picture of life in Stalin's Russia.

The publication of Memoirs of a Survivor in English is of historic and political significance. It sold one hundred thousand copies when published in Russia in 1990. It is unlikely that it would be published there today, as history is being re-written and Stalin's crimes whitewashed.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of Memoirs of a Survivor will be donated to the Bogoroditsk Museum—the former Bobrinsky estate where the translator's grandmother invited the Golitsyn family to take refuge in 1918.

Sergei Golitsyn (1909–90) eventually wrote stories for children. Memoirs is a family story to the end.

Nicholas Witter, the translator, is Sergei Golitsyn's cousin.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781906702014
  • Publisher: Reportage Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 556
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Golitsyn (1909-90) lived through the social, political and industrial upheavals that created the Soviet Union. Growing to manhood, struggling to find employment with the terrible handicap of coming from a noble family, he endired hunger, injustice and cruelty. After fighting with the Red Army to Berlin, he became a childen's writer while secretly writing his memoirs 'for the drawer'. Witter is related to Golitsyn through his maternal grandmother Countess Bobrinsky who was Sergei's aunt. He has worked as an executuve in London, a timekeeper on Canadian construction sites, a teacher and a simultaneous translator at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. He is married with three children and seven grandchildren Lieven is Professor of Russian Government at LSE and a fellow of the British Academy. His family were also influence members of the Russian aristocracy under the Tsars. He has written many books on Russian history. His latest book War and Peace: Russia against Napoleon 1807-14 will be published in 2010.

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