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Author Peter Mezhiritskiy belongs to the so-called Shestidesyatniki -"the 60s generation" - Soviets born between 1925 and 1945 who resisted the Communist Party's cultural and ideological restrictions in adulthood. As children, they'd been fully convinced in the ideals of communism, only to be disillusioned by knowledge of the widespread repressions as they matured. Many of this generation became noted writers. Mezhiritskiy obtained a Master's Degree in Engineering, but quickly understood the phantom essence of the socialist economy and started sharing his views by writing. His first novel was a complete success, being translated into Polish and made into a movie by Belarusfilm. In 1979, forced by the growing impositions of Soviet censorship, Mezhiritskiy emigrated to the United States, where he kept working as an engineer while continuing to write books. His Russian-language books "Longing for London" and "Reading Marshal Zhukov" (published in 1994 and 1995 respectively) were dedicated to the consequences of Stalinism. The novel "On the threshold of immortality" (2006) was dedicated to the patriarchs Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac. He is the author of many short stories, essays and articles, which have been published in the United States, Germany, Israel, Russia and the Ukraine. He lives in San Diego, CA. / Stuart Britton is a freelance translator and editor residing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has been responsible for making a growing number of Russian titles available to readers of the English language, consisting primarily of memoirs by Red Army veterans and recent historical research concerning the Eastern Front of the Second World War and Soviet air operations in the Korean War. Notable recent titles include Boris Gorbachevsky's 'Through the Maelstrom: A Red Army Soldier's War on the Eastern Front 1942-45' (University Press of Kansas, 2008) and Yuri Sutiagin's and Igor Seidov's 'MiG Menace Over Korea: The Story of Soviet Fighter Ace Nikolai Sutiagin' (Pen & Sword Aviation, 2009). Future books will include Lev Lopukhovsky's detailed study of the Soviet disaster at Viazma in 1941, Svetlana Gerasimova's analysis of the prolonged and savage fighting against Army Group Center in 1942-43 to liberate the city of Rzhev, and more of Igor Seidov's studies of the Soviet side of the air war in Korea, 1951-1953.
The strongest point of the book being discussed here is that Mezhiritsky combines the skills of a professional historian, the patience of an archivist, and the passion of someone for whom the years 1941-1945 are part of his life. The author of captivating fiction, he knows how to make his writing accessible to professionals and the lay public alike. He often interrupts the exposition by digressions, asides, and personal recollections, so that the reader becomes a participant in the unfolding tragedy. This is indeed an academic book with a human face. * Anatoly Liberman, Professor of Germanic and Slavic at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis campus *