A Different 'Darkness at Noon'

NY Review of Books, Volume 63, Number 6 - April 7, 2016

The Bad Boy of Russian Poetry

NY Review of Books, Volume 62, Number 14, September 24, 2015

The CIA's 'Zhivago'

NY Review of Books, Volume 61, Number 12 - July 10, 2014

In its headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the CIA has a museum that's not generally open to the public....

The Russian Nobility under the Red Terror

NY Review of Books, Vol. LX, no. 4, March 7, 2013

When I was studying Russian at a British army language school in the 1950s, most of my teachers were Russian émigrés who had fled the Bolshevik Revolution....

Red States: The Soviet Attempt to Export Communism

Harper's, February 2013

One of the twentieth century’s most significant innovations was the concept of world war, and it managed to stage not one but two, as if the first weren’t good enough and had to be perfected....

Pride and Poetry

New Republic - May 18, 2012

Joseph Brodsky caught the attention of the outside world for the first time in 1964, when he was tried in Leningrad for the crime of writing poetry....

The Master Returns - Or Does He?

NY Review of Books, Vol. LVIII, No. 19, December 8, 2011

In 1967, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn sent a letter to his former labor camp comrade Lev Kopelev about the autobiographical hero of his novel The First Circle. Gleb Nerzhin, he wrote, was meant to be “an excellent man with ideal convictions [who] needs no practical criteria of good and evil, since he is sufficiently guided by his convictions....”

Writers in a Cage

NY Review of Books, Volume 57, Number 1 — January 14, 2010

The rise and triumph of the Soviet dissident movement in the second half of the twentieth century surely ranks as one of the finest episodes in Russian cultural history.

The Servile Path

Harper's Magazine - May 1, 2001

Translators are the ghosts of the literary profession, invisible men who don a mask and pretend to be someone else....