Michael Scammell

Michael Scammell is the author of Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth Century Skeptic and Solzhenitsyn, A Biography. He has translated books by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Nabokov into English and writes regularly about Russian and East European literature. 

Read More | Contact Michael Scammell

Praise for Michael Scammell

  • Koestler himself seems so alive he might leap off the page.

    Anne Applebaum, The New York Review of Books

  • A terrific biography... every page is enthralling.

    Michael Dirda, Washington Post

  • Superb biography.

    Paul Berman, The New Republic

  • A prodigy of research in many languages.

    Louis Menand, The New Yorker

  • Tremendous, absorbing.

    Neal Ascherson, London Review of Books

  • Magisterial.

    John Carey, The Sunday Times (UK)


The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic

The Indispensable Intellectual


Buy The Book

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BetterWorldBooks.com, IndieBound, Random House,


27 February 2024

Darkness at Noon - New English Translation Published

When I first read the newly discovered German typescript and decided to push for a new English translation of Arthur Koestler's dystopian novel, Darkness at Noon, I was aware there was a risk involved. When first published in 1941, the novel had been almost buried by the horrors of World War II, then borne aloft to best seller status by the upheavals of the Cold War, but that was in the latter hal…
27 February 2024

Darkness at Noon - New German Edition

The original German text of Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon (see my last news entry) has just been published by Elsinor Verlag in Coesfeld, Germany, with my introduction and an afterword by the you…
27 February 2024

Biography Conference in Mexico City

"Under history, memory and forgetting,
Under memory and forgetting, life.
But writing a life is another story.

These lines by the French philosopher and poet, Paul Ricoeur, are a good …
27 February 2024

Natalya Gorbanevskaya RIP

It may seem odd to write two obituaries in a row, but by a strange coincidence, Daniel Weissbort's death was followed less than two weeks later by the death of the former Soviet dissident and Russian …
27 February 2024

Daniel Weissbort RIP

A delay in putting up my new website makes this a little later than I would wish, but I'd like to mark the death of my good friend and fellow translator, Daniel Weissbort, in London on November 18. Da…

Read more posts