In his latest work, Antony Beevor—bestselling author of Stalingrad and The Battle of Arnhem and one of our most respected historians of World War II—brings us the true, little-known story of a family torn apart by revolution and war. Olga Chekhova, a stunning Russian beauty, was the niece of playwright Anton Chekhov and a famous Nazi-era film actress who was closely associated with Hitler. After fleeing Bolshevik Moscow for Berlin in 1920, she was recruited by her composer brother Lev to become a Soviet spy—a career she spent her entire postwar life denying. The riveting story of how Olga and her family survived the Russian Revolution, the rise of Hitler, the Stalinist Terror, and the Second World War becomes, in Beevor’s hands, a breathtaking tale of survival in a merciless age.
When the woman who would become Indra Devi was born in Russia in 1899, yoga was virtually unknown outside of India. By the time of her death, in 2002, it was being practiced everywhere, from Brooklyn to Berlin to Ulaanbaatar. In The Goddess Pose, New York Times best-selling author Michelle Goldberg traces the life of the incredible woman who brought yoga to the West and in so doing paints a sweeping picture of the twentieth century. Born into the minor aristocracy (as Eugenia Peterson), Devi grew up in the midst of one of the most turbulent times in human history. Forced to flee the Russian Revolution as a teenager, she joined a famous Berlin cabaret troupe, dove into the vibrant prewar spiritualist movement, and, at a time when it was nearly unthinkable for a young European woman to travel alone, followed the charismatic Theosophical leader Jiddu Krishnamurti to India. Once on the subcontinent, she performed in Indian silent cinema and hobnobbed with the leaders of the independence movement. But her greatest coup was convincing a recalcitrant master yogi to train her in the secrets of his art. Devi would go on to share what she learned with people around the world, teaching in Shanghai during World War II, then in Hollywood, where her students included Gloria Swanson and Greta Garbo. She ran a yoga school in Mexico during the height of the counterculture, served as spiritual adviser to the colonel who tried to overthrow Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, and, in her eighties, moved to Buenos Aires at the invitation of a besotted rock star. Everywhere she went, Indra Devi evangelized for yoga, ushering in a global craze that continues unabated. Written with vivid clarity, The Goddess Pose brings her remarkable story as an actress, yogi, and globetrotting adventuress to life.
In Nazi Germany, the cult of celebrity was the embodiment of Hitler’s style of cultural governance. Hitler’s rise to power owed much to the creation of his own celebrity, and the country’s greatest stars, whether they were actors, writers, or musicians, could be one of only two things. If they were compliant, they were lauded and awarded status symbols for the regime; but if they resisted—or were simply Jewish—they were traitors to be interned and murdered. This fascinating analysis offers a shocking portrait of a Hitler shaped by aspirations to Hollywood-style fame, of the correlation between art and ambition, of films used as weapons, and of sexual predilections. The Führer believed he was an artist, not a politician, and in his Germany politics and culture became one. His celebrity was cultivated and nurtured by Joseph Goebbels, Germany’s supreme head of culture. Hitler and Goebbels enjoyed the company of beautiful female film stars, and Goebbels had his own “casting couch.” In Germany’s version of Hollywood there were scandals, starlets, secret agents, premieres, and party politics. The Third Reich would launch filmmaker and actress Leni Riefenstahl to prominence by making her its own glorifying documentarian, most famously in The Triumph of the Will, the innovative propaganda film starring Hitler and widely considered to be one of the greatest movies ever made. It is no coincidence that Eva Braun, Hitler’s longtime partner and wife for the two days leading up to their joint suicide, was a photographer, and in fact shot most of the surviving photographs and film footage of her lover. This book reveals previously unpublished information about the “Hitler film,” which Goebbels envisaged as “the greatest story ever told,” although it was ultimately trumped by the dictator’s own, real-life Wagnerian finale.
Marina Frolova-Walker's fascinating history takes a new look at musical life in Stalin's Soviet Union. The author focuses on the musicians and composers who received Stalin Prizes, awarded annually to artists whose work was thought to represent the best in Soviet culture. This revealing study sheds new light on the Communist leader's personal tastes, the lives and careers of those honored, including multiple-recipients Prokofiev and Shostakovich, and the elusive artistic concept of "Socialist Realism," offering the most comprehensive examination to date of the relationship between music and the Soviet state from 1940 through 1954.
Veit Harlan (1899--1964) was one of Germany's most controversial and loathed directors. After studying with theatre and film pioneer Max Reinhardt and beginning a promising career, he became one of Joseph Goebbels's leading filmmakers under the National Socialist regime. Harlan's Jud Süss ( Jew Suss, 1940), in particular, stands as one of the most artistically distinct and morally reprehensible films produced by the Third Reich. His involvement with this movie has led to many critical questions: Was the director truly forced to make the film under penalty of death? Is anti-Semitism a theme in his other productions? Can and should his work be studied in light of the horrors of Nazism and the Holocaust? The first English-language biography of the notorious director, Veit Harlan presents an in-depth portrait of the man who is arguably the only Nazi filmmaker with a distinct authorial style and body of work. Author Frank Noack reveals that both Harlan's life and work were marked by creative vision, startling ambiguities, and deep moral flaws. His meticulously detailed study explores the director's influence on German cinema and places his work within the contexts of World War II and film history as a whole. Rivaled only by Leni Riefenstahl, Veit Harlan remains one of Germany's most infamous filmmakers, and virtually every book on Nazi cinema contains at least one chapter about Harlan or an analysis of one of his movies. This biography -- supplemented by production histories and rare interviews with actors, actresses, and cameramen -- offers the first comprehensive analysis of the director and his work and adds new perspective to the growing body of scholarship on filmmaking under the Third Reich.
November 1920. Russia may have endured the Revolution, but a brutal civil war still rages. As brothers are pitted against each other in battle, thousands of Russians flee as the threat draws ever closer. As distant relatives of the Romanovs, the Kirilov family is never far from suspicion, and closer to danger than most. When tragedy strikes, four-year-old Lydia Kirillova is separated from her family. The only key to her identity is the opulent jewel concealed in her petticoat. Struck by the child’s plight, the benevolent diplomat Sir Edward Stoneleigh brings her to England, where she grows up well-educated, wealthy, and surrounded by a loving family. Yet it is not enough. Unable to recall even her own birth date, Lydia yearns to know the truth about her heritage - the charming Nikolay Andropov offers her the perfect opportunity to do so. Invited to join him on a trip to Russia, Lydia jumps at the chance to discover more about the past she finds increasingly difficult to remember. But when reality sets in, is all as it seems? With the Second World War looming, Lydia’s situation becomes desperate. Will she ever find a place to finally think of as home?
This volume is a comprehensive and detailed survey of music and musical life of the entire Soviet era, from 1917 to 1991, which takes into account the extensive body of scholarly literature in Russian and other major European languages. In this considerably updated and revised edition of his 1998 publication, Hakobian traces the strikingly dramatic development of the music created by outstanding and less well-known, ‘modernist’ and ‘conservative’, ‘nationalist’ and ‘cosmopolitan’ composers of the Soviet era. The book’s three parts explore, respectively, the musical trends of the 1920s, music and musical life under Stalin, and the so-called ’Bronze Age’ of Soviet music after Stalin’s death. Music of the Soviet Era: 1917–1991 considers the privileged position of music in the USSR in comparison to the written and visual arts. Through his examination of the history of the arts in the Soviet state, Hakobian’s work celebrates the human spirit’s wonderful capacity to derive advantage even from the most inauspicious conditions.
A magisterial, single-volume history of the greatest conflict the world has ever known by our foremost military historian. ***** The Second World War began in August 1939 on the edge of Manchuria and ended there exactly six years later with the Soviet invasion of northern China. The war in Europe appeared completely divorced from the war in the Pacific and China, and yet events on opposite sides of the world had profound effects. Using the most up-to-date scholarship and research, Beevor assembles the whole picture in a gripping narrative that extends from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific and from the snowbound steppe to the North African Desert. Although filling the broadest canvas on a heroic scale, Beevor's The Second World War never loses sight of the fate of the ordinary soldiers and civilians whose lives were crushed by the titanic forces unleashed in the most terrible war in history.
Filled with dramatic revelations, The Lost Spy may be the most important American spy story to come along in a generation. For half a century, the case of Isaiah Oggins, a 1920s New York intellectual brutally murdered in 1947 on Stalin's orders, remained hidden in the secret files of the KGB and the FBI—a footnote buried in the rubble of the Cold War. Then, in 1992, it surfaced briefly, when Boris Yeltsin handed over a deeply censored dossier to the White House. The Lost Spy at last reveals the truth: Oggins was one of the first Americans to spy for the Soviets.Based on six years of international sleuthing, The Lost Spy traces Oggins's rise in beguiling detail—a brilliant Columbia University graduate sent to run a safe house in Berlin and spy on the Romanovs in Paris and the Japanese in Manchuria—and his fall: death by poisoning in a KGB laboratory. As harrowing as Darkness at Noon and as tragic as Dr. Zhivago, The Lost Spy is one of the great nonfiction detective stories of our time.
This book is the first systematic study of the relations between German high society and the Nazis. It uses unpublished archival material, private diaries and diplomatic documents to take us into the hidden areas of power where privileges, tax breaks, and stolen property were exchanged. Fabrice D'Almeida begins by examining high society in the Weimar period, dominated by the old imperial aristocracy and a new republican aristocracy of government officials and wealthy businessmen. It was in this group that Hitler made his social debut in the early 1920s through the mediation of conservative friends and artists, including the family of the composer Richard Wagner. By the end of the 1920s, he enjoyed wide support among socialites, who played a significant role in his access to power in 1933. Their adherence to the Nazi regime, and the favors they received in return, continued and even grew until defeat loomed on the horizon. D'Almeida shows how members of German high society sought to outdo each other in showing zealous support for Hitler, how the old elites starting with the Kaiser's sons partied alongside parvenus, and how actors, aristocrats, SS technocrats, and diplomats came together to form a strange imperial court. Women also played a role in this theatre of power; they were persuaded that they had gained in dignity what they had lost in civil rights. There emerges a fascinating and disturbing picture of a group that allowed nothing - not war, the plundering of Europe, nor the extermination of peoples - to alter their cynical enjoyment of pleasures: hunting, regattas, the opera, balls, dinners and tennis. More than a study of a class or a chronicle, this book lifts the veil that has concealed a society that used secrecy to protect itself. High Society in the Third Reich makes an important and unique contribution to the current reevaluation of the extent to which German society, including German high society, was responsible for Hitler's accession to power and the crimes that were committed by his regime.
Leonid Eitingon was a KGB killer who dedicated his life to the Soviet regime. He was in China in the early 1920s, in Turkey in the late 1920s, in Spain during the Civil War, and, crucially, in Mexico when Trotsky was assassinated. 'As long as I live,' Stalin had said, 'not a hair of his head shall be touched.' It did not work out like that. Max Eitingon was a psychoanalyst, a colleague, friend and protégé of Freud's. He was rich, secretive and - through his friendship with a famous Russian singer - implicated in the abduction of a white Russian general in Paris in 1937. Motty Eitingon was a New York fur dealer whose connections with the Soviet Union made him the largest trader in the world. Imprisoned by the Bolsheviks, questioned by the FBI, was Motty everybody's friend or everybody's enemy? Mary-Kay Wilmers began looking into aspects of her remarkable family twenty years ago. The result is a book of astonishing scope and thrilling originality which throws light into some of the darkest corners of the last century. At the centre of the story stands the author herself -- ironic, precise, searching, and stylish - wondering not only about where she is from, but about what she's entitled to know.
Shostakovich: A Life Remembered is a unique study of the great composer, drawn from the reminiscences and reflections of his contemporaries. Elizabeth Wilson sheds light on the composer's creative process and his working life in music, and examines the enormous and enduring influence that Shostakovich has had on Soviet musical life. 'The one indispensable book about the composer.' New York Times
Acclaimed historian and best-selling author Antony Beevor vividly brings to life the epic struggles that took place in Second World War Crete - reissued with a new introduction. 'The best book we have got on Crete' Observer The Germans expected their airborne attack on Crete in 1941 - a unique event in the history of warfare - to be a textbook victory based on tactical surprise. They had no idea that the British, using Ultra intercepts, knew their plans and had laid a carefully-planned trap. It should have been the first German defeat of the war, but a fatal misunderstanding turned the battle round. Nor did the conflict end there. Ferocious Cretan freedom fighters mounted a heroic resistance, aided by a dramatic cast of British officers from Special Operations Executive.
This book explores the cultural imprint of military conflict on metropolises worldwide in the First and Second World Wars. It brings together cultural and urban historians and scholars of anthropology, education, geography, and urban planning, and examines how the emergence of 'total' warfare blurred the boundaries between home and front and transformed cities into battlefields. The central contention of this volume, that total war in the twentieth century has a significant but often overlooked metropolitan dimension, is addressed, filling a gap in the currently available literature.
An exposé of Hitler’s relationship with film and his influence on the film industry A presence in Third Reich cinema, Adolf Hitler also personally financed, ordered, and censored films and newsreels and engaged in complex relationships with their stars and directors. Here, Bill Niven offers a powerful argument for reconsidering Hitler’s fascination with film as a means to further the Nazi agenda. In this first English-language work to fully explore Hitler’s influence on and relationship with film in Nazi Germany, the author calls on a broad array of archival sources. Arguing that Hitler was as central to the Nazi film industry as Goebbels, Niven also explores Hitler’s representation in Third Reich cinema, personally and through films focusing on historical figures with whom he was associated, and how Hitler’s vision for the medium went far beyond “straight propaganda.” He aimed to raise documentary film to a powerful art form rivaling architecture in its ability to reach the masses.
This book is a critical encyclopedia of silent European films currently available on DVD, laser disc, and VHS. It provides concise and accurate summaries of the films, evaluates the quality of the prints, discusses the changing reputations of both films and filmmakers, and considers how the techniques developed during the silent period continue to influence filmmaking today. The book cites contemporary and recent criticism of the films and includes an extensive bibliography as well as a list of films by director. Numerous photos are also included.