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Alone Together: Solzhenitsyn and the Jews, Revisited

Richard Pipes

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An early review of a book not yet published in English.

Recently Alexander Solzhenitsyn published a long book called Dvesti Let Vmeste, or Two Hundred Years Together, the first of two volumes devoted to the history of Jews in Russia from the third partition of Poland in 1795, when Russia, until then effectively without Jews, suddenly acquired one million Jewish subjects. It covers the years between 1795 and 1916. The follow-up volume will bring the story up to the year 1995.

One cannot help but marvel at the intellectual energy of a novelist who in his seventies undertakes research on a vast and tangled historical theme with which he has only the most superficial familiarity. In his introduction, Solzhenitsyn says that during his work on the Russian Revolution he had frequently run into the problem of Russo-Jewish relations but found no history that illuminated the subject in a balanced matter. His book is an attempt to remedy this lacuna. He makes a conscious effort to show empathy for both sides, calling on Jews and Russians to display "patient mutual understanding and an acknowledgment of their share of sin"--the ultimate sin being the 1917 revolution that brought Russia untold miseries...

Richard Pipes is professor emeritus of history at HarvardUniversity and the author most recently of Communism: A History (Random House).

Read the entire review on the NCSJ: Advocates on behalf of Jews in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic States & Eurasia website.



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