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Fear No Evil Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 468 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (November 27, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891620029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891620027
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sharansky writes of the nine years he spent in the Soviet gulag. "Told with remarkable calm, even with harrowing humor, Sharansky's gripping and deeply moving account of his prison years is a tribute to human resilience. His sheer courage and moral stature are matched only by his literary skill at conveying the nightmare he endured," praised PW .
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In 1977, Sharansky, a Jewish dissident, was arrested by the KGB on a charge of spying for the CIA. After 16 months of interrogation, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison, where he remained until 1986, when he was exchanged for a Soviet spy held by the United States. This is a riveting story, told directly and without self-pity, of the Soviet Union's attempts to crush political opponents. Unlike many others, Sharansky retained a sense of self by refusing to acknowledge that physical domination implied moral superiority, an opposition symbolized by his refusal to give up his Psalm book. A compelling account of numbing privations, hunger strikes, and especially of courage, this book will have wide appeal. Scholars will also gain insight into the reformed, but essentially unchanged, post-Stalin KGB and penal bureaucracies. Mark C. Carnes, Barnard Coll., Columbia Univ.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The book is detailed and inspirational.
Art Green
This is a true story of a person with great wisdom, true courage, and solid moral principles, a story of how good defeated evil.
J. Cai
BTW, the Kindle version of this text is pretty navigable and displays well on the screen.
Dexter Van Zile

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd A. Conway on May 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Sharansky's autobiography is one of the most compelling works of literature that I have read. This is literature - it made me pause to think and reflect on what he said frequently, and my copy is well-thumbed. The story is of a spiritual journey, as the young Sharansky's awareness of his Jewishness de-Sovietizes him and leads him into the Gulag - willingly, as he forknew the risks of protesting Soviet emmigration policy. His voluntary civil disobedience seperated him from his bride, Avital, physically for a decade, but the growing intensity of the spiritual forces working within and through him bonded them ever more securely. The moral courage demonstrated by one of the most celebrated of the Refusniks is evident on nearly every page. The spiritual uplift that Sharansky found came from his faith, and from reading the classics, one of the few liberties permitted him in the Gulag. (Looted libraries and personal collections left the prison system well-stocked for this purpose.) The comments on how he was encouraged by his encounter with Aristophanes, when he understood the connection between himself and a character in a 2,500 play through a joke that he finally 'got,'are among the most uplifting in the book. Sharansky recounts how that joke opened a floodgate in his mind, through which came pouring the voices of Rabelais, Cerevantes and other great classics, reminding him of his humanity and the ways of man. The climatic chapter, "The Interconnection of Souls," should be re-read many times. -Lloyd A. Conway
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Michael Good on February 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
An inspiring book in which Natan Sharansky tells of his struggle against the KGB and the power of the Soviet police state. I found myself amazed at the courage that this young, physically small man exhibited when faced with the full fury of the KGB. His intellectual battles with his interogators and his remarkable stamina during hunger strikes in support of fellow prisoners are memorable. The whole book helped me to put the small struggles of life in perspective, emphasizing the importance of following ones principles, yet having in mind the small magnitude of ones problems compared to the historic ones faced by refuseniks like Mr. Sharansky. -Michael Good
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Elliott S. Mitchell on January 13, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book lends incredible insight into the life of a Russian Refusenik under the oppressive Soviet system. Sharansky's mental tricks that sustained him during his years of horrific incarceration as well as his genius and amazing memory impressed the hell out of me.
Learning how one man could take on the KGB and outsmart, outwill, and outlast them is a truly uplifting experience.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kelly L. Norman VINE VOICE on August 27, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"[Saul] put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on [David's]head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around... "I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them." Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached [Goliath]".

So begins the story of the famous battle between the future King David of Israel and the giant Phillistine during Biblical times. In Natan Shcharansky's "Fear No Evil" (the title taken from one of David's own psalms), the author is less equipped even than young David in battling the ubiquitous and evil KGB, which maintains an illegal presence in the prisons he's held in (again, illegally), accused of spying for western countries. But because of decisions he makes early in his arrest, he is the victor in the struggle waged over his soul by men who would like him to acknowledge he is wrong, who would like him to implicate others in his "crimes" in order for favors from them, or who would simply like him to stop being the delightful fly in the prison ointment he is.

Shcharansky's only weapons during his trial and during his following prison term, consist of his personal integrity, which remains unsullied; his faith and trust in his family and friends; and a tiny book of psalms that he will spare nothing in reminding prison officials he is entitled to. He sometimes has to wage a hunger strike for these things, but always wins.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Berl on April 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
It's hard to believe that one person could morally and intellectually defeat the KGB all by himself, to preserve his identity and his integrity despite all odds. There are many lessons for our everyday life that one can learn from this book. I recommend it very highly.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By cyras on December 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
While not the best written thing I've ever read, it is one of the most interesting and uplifting stories of personal triumph over evil that I've encountered. An excellent portrayal of man's inhumanity to man, on the one hand, and on how evil can be defeated on the other.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Victor Shikhman on April 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
Having met Sharansky in Israel (Birthright alumni!), and having had a long time interest in the Soviet Jewry dissident movement - which allowed my own (Jewish) family to emigrate from the Soviet Union in '91 - I had little doubt as to the outcome of Sharansky's imprisonment. As someone who has read a number of books on similar subjects - in particular the Alexander Solzenytsin "Archipelag Gulag" series - I was a bit dissapointed with "Fear no Evil". (Nevermind that Solzenytsin is widely believed to be an anti-semite; I'm speaking of the literary aspect only.)

In contrast to Solzenytsin's breathtakingly vivid literary style and powerful analysis of the core of the Soviet regime and it's criminal code, Sharansky's book read rather like an eagle's eye view of a convoluted social and political order. "Fear no Evil" reads instead like a game of mental swordsmanship, with a self-inflicted narrow focus quite removed from breadth and depth of a much needed analysis on the Soviet system as a whole.

However, Sharansky does not proclaim himself to be a literary guru. This book is a poignant (if dry) portrayal of one man's fight for freedom - both for himself and 2 million of his people. The uncompromising stance taken by the author with the Soviet regime throughout his imprisonment - his life, family and future hanging in the balance - is awe-inspiring in its simplicity and effectiveness.

It has become a cliche in our time that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter". Yet the Sharanskys of the world have proven that one need not be a terrorist to be a freedom fighter. Where are such men today?
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