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Conquered City (New York Review Books Classics)by Victor Serge
Synopses & Reviews
1919–1920: St. Petersburg, city of the czars, has fallen to the Revolution. Camped out in the splendid palaces of the former regime, the city’s new masters seek to cement their control, even as the counterrevolutionary White Army regroups. Conquered City, Victor Serge’s most unrelenting narrative, is structured like a detective story, one in which the new political regime tracks down and eliminates its enemies—the spies, speculators, and traitors hidden among the mass of common people.
Conquered City is about terror: the Red Terror and the White Terror. But mainly about the Red, the Communists who have dared to pick up the weapons of power—police, guns, jails, spies, treachery—in the doomed gamble that by wielding them righteously, they can put an end to the need for terror, perhaps forever. Conquered City is their tragedy and testament.
About the Author
Victor Serge (1890–1947) was born to Russian anti-czarist exiles. After enduring five years of prison in Paris for his anarchist beliefs, he moved to Russia to support the Bolshevik Revolution. Serge served as the editor of the journal Communist International, but was expelled from the Communist Party and imprisoned for his condemnation of Stalin’s growing power. His deportation to Central Asia spurred international protests which succeeded in securing his freedom. Serge lived in exile for the rest of his life and died in Mexico City. His great novels, Unforgiving Years and The Case of Comrade Tulayev, are published by NYRB Classics.
Richard Greeman, the translator of four of Victor Serge’s novels, has written a doctoral dissertation about Serge along with numerous other studies of his work and life. A collection of Greeman’s political essays, Dangerous Shortcuts and Vegetarian Sharks, appeared in 2007. He lives in France.
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