Idealists

Idealists

by Henry Carlisle, Olga Andreyev Carlisle
     
 

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"This book haunts me. It has caught, as no other work I know, the terrible innocence that helped to unleash the twentieth century whirlwind. No two people are better qualified than Olga and Henry Carlisle to see this with clear eyes, compassion, great knowledge, and an almost unbearable irony."MARY LEE SETTLE, author of Addie and The Beulah Quintet" See more details below

Overview

"This book haunts me. It has caught, as no other work I know, the terrible innocence that helped to unleash the twentieth century whirlwind. No two people are better qualified than Olga and Henry Carlisle to see this with clear eyes, compassion, great knowledge, and an almost unbearable irony."MARY LEE SETTLE, author of Addie and The Beulah Quintet"

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
Growing up in exile, Marina Nevsky understands little of the political intrigue surrounding her father, who heads the Russian Socialist Revolutionary Party, committed to land reform and peasants' rights. On the eve of Marina's 17th birthday, her family takes in Tamara Sermus, a mysterious dancer who bewitches her parents but troubles Marina. Is Tamara a spy for the secret police, an SR supporter, a Bolshevik agent? Outmaneuvered by Lenin and the ruthless Bolsheviks, the SR party finds its support crumbling. Then bloody counterrevolution tears the society apart, and Marina learns dark secrets from her family's past. This slim novel by the former PEN America president and his wife, a Russian author from a politically active family, bears too much political weight, trying to elucidate the complex interplay of war against Germany, the monarchy's supporters, and various opposition groups. Dialog often sounds more like political science debate, and the bewildering number of characters and events offers little chance to care about anyone's fate. Not recommended.--Kathy Piehl, Mankato State Univ., MN
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YA-A heartwarming tale of a loving and supportive family who face tremendous challenges. On a street in Paris in 1909, Vasily Nevsky and Boris Savinkov-members of Russia's Socialist Revolutionary Party-decide to execute one of the tsar's secret agents who has infiltrated their party. Although their quarry subsequently escapes, their clandestine encounter forever changes the lives of Nevsky, his wife, and his daughter. Idealistic Nevsky returns from exile to his homeland and immediately becomes involved in the revolutionary struggle. For the next 10 years, they live through the most tumultuous and shattering epoch of their country's history-its transition from the despotic rule of the tsars to the tyrannical control of the Bolsheviks. These intriguing events are narrated by Nevsky's daughter, who is nine-years-old at the beginning of the novel. Maxim Gorky, an eminent writer and Marina's uncle, becomes intimately involved in the family's life. Lenin, Trotsky, and a host of other household names of that bloody time make an appearance. A readable, well-written, and enjoyable story.-Peggy Mooney, Pohick Public Library, Burke, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Serge Schmemann
...[H]as its moments of compelling drama....[A]ficionados of Russian history will have come fun roaming through the revolutionary years behind a Socialist Revolutionary, a type not generally glorified in lore, and there is a dollop of suspense...
The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
An intelligent retelling of one of Russia's missed chances-to install a socialist rather than a communist government to succeed the Tsar in 1918-from a veteran writing duo.

The story, based on Olga Carlisle's own family's experiences, alternates between awkward (but mercifully brief) commentary on the actual historical events, as narrated by daughter Marina Nevsky, and accounts of the Nevskys' role in these events. All begins in Paris of 1909: Marina, age nine, is the only child of Anna and Vasily Nevsky, the leader of the Socialist Revolutionary Party (SR); because of their politics, the family is living in exile. Vasily, now convinced that the revolution should be nonviolent, refuses to allow the assassination of a traitor, then moves his family to their villa in Italy. There, while Vasily refines his political message, the family entertains Max Gorky (Marina's godfather) and rescues from a sinking yacht the treacherous dancer Tamara Sermus, who will later betray them repeatedly. Marina initially identifies with the prevailing family politics and falls in love with Dmitry, her father's devoted disciple. But in 1917, when rioting breaks out in Petrograd and the Nevskys return to Russia confident that the SR's time has finally come, Marina discovers that her hopes are unrealistic. The SR does hold the majority, but the high-minded Vasily is soon out-maneuvered by Lenin and the Bolsheviks. After flights to the countryside, plus betrayals that bring them all back to Moscow and hurl Marino and her mother into the Lubyanka prison, the three, with Gorky's help, are allowed to return to exile. There, Vasily, at last understanding the brutal realities of the Bolshevik revolution, warnsto no avail of the lasting consequences for Russia.

Well-intentioned and well-written, but without the dramatic sweep and tension that would make this horrendous and tragic tale truly memorable. .

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312200541
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
02/28/1999
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.57(h) x 1.02(d)

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