New Books in Biography   /   Alexandra Popoff, "Vasily Grossman and the Soviet Century" (Yale UP, 2019)

missing episode


Memory and truth are malleable and nowhere more so than in the Soviet Union.  To be a writer in that country was to face an ongoing dilemma: conform to State-mandated topics and themes, or consign oneself to obscurity, writing only for “the desk drawer” or “without permission.”Vasily Grossman challenged that binary choice, creating some of the most compelling and uncompromising fiction and journalism of the century, but also enduring heartbreaking censorship. Her excellent new biography, Vasily Grossman and the Soviet Century (Yale University Press, 2019) brings the life and work of this often-overlooked writer into brilliant focus. Biography of a writer — particularly one with Grossman’s output — can be tricky to pull off, but Popoff’s extensive research is elegantly arranged into a very readable narrative, in which we follow Grossman through the harrowing experiences of witnessing first hand, famine in the 1920s, the Terror of the 1930s, the carnage of World War II, and the dull ache of censorship in the post-war Soviet Union.Jennifer Eremeeva is an American expatriate writer who divides her time between Riga, Latvia, and New England.  Jennifer writes about travel, food, lifestyle, and Russian history and culture with bylines in Reuters, Fodor’s, The Moscow Times, and Russian Life.  She is the in-house travel blogger for Alexander & Roberts, and the award-winning author of  Lenin Lives Next Door:  Marriage, Martinis, and Mayhem in Moscow.  Follow Jennifer on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook or visit for more information.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

Popoff brings the life and work of this often-overlooked writer into brilliant focus...
Publishing date
2019-07-12 08:00
Marshall Poe author