Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Notes from Underground Hardcover – March 12, 2014
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Bronze Winner of a 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Suspense/Thriller catagory.(Independent Publisher Book Awards)
About the Author
Roger Scruton is a freelance writer and philosopher, who rescued himself from the academy twenty years ago. He currently lives in rural Wiltshire, England. He has held posts in the American Enterprise Institute, and in the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He is married with two children. He is the author of 40 books, including five works of fiction, and composed two operas. He is widely known on both sides of the Atlantic as a public intellectual with a broadly conservative vision.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is written as a flashback by Jan, a Czech dissident who has emigrated to the United States after the breakup of the Soviet Union. In many respects it is a love story, recounting Jan's relationship with Betka, a woman who exists in a shadowland where she is able to elude the authorities while providing some measure of leadership among members of the dissident community. Jan "marries" Betka in a deserted church, and it is made clear throughout the tale that they love each other but will never be able to live openly as husband and wife under the chaotic Communist dictatorship.
Scruton opens the book with a note stating that "This is a story about truth, but it is not a true story." He describes life under the dictatorship as filled with "false theories, false opinions, false sentiments, false loves, and false hatreds, all of which had the capacity to colonize the human soul and turn it into the mocking mirror by which he was surrounded." It is, above all, a life of fear -- fear of the police, first of all, but an encompassing fear that one is being followed and at any time might be taken into custody and imprisoned for the crime of thinking an unacceptable thought (a transgression against the State).
It is a dark story, whose redeeming grace is that it leaves the reader with a better understanding of the brutality of life in a dictatorship.Read more ›
Aware that his intervention to help his mother, as well as his association with the club members has put him under scrutiny by those with the power to arrest him, Jan continues to explore the new ideas he learns of, and deepen his relationship with Betka, even as he suspects it might be doomed. Because, early on, we learn that Jan is relating this story from the US, we know that he will ultimately survive, but it seems likely that, like the protagonist of Orwell's "1984," he will be subjected to much unpleasantness before he finds refuge.
The book explores the theme of freedom and how lack of faith can trap a person.Read more ›
And the secret police have learned that one of the books Jan's mother published -- a collection of short stories by "Comrade Underground" -- was written by Jan.
Completely isolated because of his pariah status as the son of an "enemy of the state," Jan has no friends, no remaining supportive family and no way to contact his mother's dissident writer clients for help. He knows it is only a question of time before he is also jailed.
Jan then encounters and falls in love with a mysterious, beautiful young woman, named Betka, who is an admirer of his book. She offers to help him assist his imprisoned mother and introduces him to other dissident writers and intellectuals, including a heroic priest who was imprisoned for his faith.
But Jan's new friends raise more questions in his mind.
Among the dissident community of seemingly noble, self-sacrificing people, is everyone who they claim to be? Are some of Jan's new friends secret police informers? Are some of them both dissidents and informers? Who are the true opponents of the Communist regime?
Are some of the dissidents truly major scholars, writers and artists or are they simply intellectual mediocrities using dissident presses to achieve fame for low-level work?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This excellent book brings forth a world little discussed today. We have seen the author give a lecture in person, and his style is captivating. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Ana Braga-Henebry
I am not a person who is usually willing to give up on a book, but I truly disliked this book. I couldn't even get past the third chapter! Read morePublished 5 months ago by Suzanne in GA
Prague, 1985. A young man named Jan Reichl works as a street cleaner, because it is the only work he’s allowed to do. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Glynn Young
A former colleague, who escaped from 1960's Czechoslovakia, told me that living under soviet communist rule was like living in a country ruled by the Department of Motor Vehicles,... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Brad4d
This book becomes a little tired after a while as the characters keep talking about the same theme or idea over and over again. It started alright, and seemed to be OK at first. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Dr. Jones
Some of the specific plot lines are mentioned in other reviews here. This is told in the first person by a Czech, now living in DC, USA, speacking about events about 25 years... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Hans Castorp
The cover of this book tells me that it is an novel and as such is a work of fiction. I do not doubt that, but based upon other books that I have read and discussion that I have... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Bob Richey
I love Scruton's non-fiction writing, so was very eager to get my hands on this. Doesn't disappoint - perfectly evokes the melancholy of the time period. Read morePublished 10 months ago by runningoutofideas
I have read many biographies of, and books by, the great Czech playwright and former President of Czechoslovakia Vaclav Havel. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mike Donovan