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Reviews

A Voice From the Mass Grave

This difficult book has a long history. Zwyciestvo prowokacji was originally published by its Polish author, then a penniless exile in Munich, at his own expense in 1962.  I first read the work in Russian translation some 20 years ago, thanks to the editorial heroism of Nina Karsov, who had brought out a Russian edition in London under the imprint of one of her émigré publishing houses.  And, in more recent years, I was a witness to Karsov’s struggle with the Anglo-American publishing establishment, aimed at persuading a mainstream house to bring out the English translation of a book whose thesis was deeply unfashionable and whose commercial potential was at best unknown.  Truth to tell, I still can’t believe she’s succeeded.

As I say, it’s a difficult book.  Difficult, first, because its author says many things that have never been said before and, second, because some of these things concern places of which today’s Western readers are not expected to know much—places like Poland, Lithuania, and the Ukraine.  Such historical data as the author takes for granted are not always in their grasp, with the consequence that what to him is an explosive paradox may easily be construed by them as a routine assertion.

Hence my plea to the English reader to buy a copy of the book, if only to put it on the bookshelf, next to Kant’s Prolegomena or fragments...

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