A Man of One Idea

The Russian edition of Viktor Suvorov’s Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War? sports a blurb on the back, quoting a review of the English translation of the book published in a British newspaper on May 5, 1990.  Suvorov, runs the quotation,

is arguing with every book, every article, every film, every NATO directive, every Downing Street assumption, every Pentagon clerk, every academic, every Communist and anti-Communist, every neoconservative intellectual, every Soviet song, poem, novel and piece of music ever heard, written, made, sung, issued, produced, or born during the last 50 years.  For this reason, Icebreaker is the most original work of history it has been my privilege to read.

The book had been published by Ham­ish Hamilton, in those days a highly respectable house.  The newspaper reviewing it was the yet-magisterial Times, whose literary editor had given over to me almost the whole of the biweekly books page to do justice to a work, as I had told him, of outstanding importance.  Using the term used by Coleridge of Kant in the Biographia Literaria, I said that Suvorov was “allbecrushing.”  The book sold 800 copies.

Some months later, a German edition of the book, under the title Der Eisbrecher: Hitler in Stalins Kaulkül, was published in Germany by a smallish house, Klett-Cotta, to timid and gingerly reviews. ...

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