The combination of traditional Tolstoyan verbiage with the time-worn universal theme of war has not prevented this Russian author (Days and Nights) and journalist from creating an intense and absorbing World War II documentary of the first months at Russia's Western Front, as the Germans advance relentlessly toward Moscow. More than an accurate, exciting record of the actual battles, retreats, and encirclements, the novel is meaningfully overcast with an aura of war—any war of any nation—not only its horrors, but its rewards, its spirit, and above all, its blind disregard for any ""disparity between the living and the dead"". In microcosm, the hero of the book is Vanya Sintsov, a young military journalist who joins the front ranks to fight, is wounded and captured, and escapes, but without his survival guarantee—the Party Card and Identity Papers. The struggle to redeem his official status as a soldier through his own actions takes him from unit to unit, from comrade to comrade, never doubting his country's victory, but often despairing at human nature. Sinstov, with all his faith and failings, is still only an opitome; it is the Russian Army and all its emergency supporters that is the true epic hero. Aided by Ainsztein's fine translation, Simonov has managed, in a gargantuan complex of characters and events, to capture that elusive dust that inexorably settles on a people at war. Long but rewarding—both for historical accuracy and artful fiction.-Kirkus Reviews
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||1 MB|
About the Author
Simonov was born in Petrograd in 1915 to Princess Obolensky of a Rurikid family and an officer in the Tsar’s army, who left Russia after the Revolution of 1917. When his father died in Poland in 1921, Simonov remained in Russia with his stepmother, Alexandra, and his mother married Alexander Ivanischev, a Red Army officer and veteran of World War I, in the early 1920s.
Studying war correspondence at the military-political academy, Simonov obtained the service rank of quartermaster of the second rank. At the beginning of World War II Simonov received a job with the official army newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda. He rose through the army ranks becoming a senior battalion commissar in 1942, lieutenant colonel in 1943, and a colonel after the war.
As a war correspondent, Simonov served in Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Poland, and Germany, where he was present at the Battle of Berlin. After the war his collected reports appeared in Letters from Czechoslovakia, Slav Friendship, Yugoslavian Notebook and From the Black to the Barents Sea: Notes of a War Correspondent.
For three years after the war ended, Simonov served in foreign missions in Japan, the United States and China. From 1958 to 1960 he worked in Tashkent as the Central Asia correspondent for Pravda. His novel Comrades in Arms was published in 1952, and his longer novel, The Living and the Dead, in 1959.
He died at the age of 63 in Moscow in 1979.