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Russian Dance: A True Story of Intrigue and Passion in Stalinist Moscow Hardcover – May 24, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Tragic love affairs that destroy a powerful man's career and a woman's life will always exert a grip on our imaginations and sense of historical inevitability (think, for example, of Charles Stewart Parnell and Mrs. O'Shea). The relationship revealed in Brooks's well-researched chronicle, while not as momentous or famous as some, provides a fascinating record of an audacious love affair as well as a significant insight into the early years of Stalin's reign in Russia. In the 1920s, charming Bluet Rabinoff presided over the celebrity-filled salon convened by her husband, famed New York impresario Max Rabinoff. When she fell in love with dashing Marc Cheftel, a physician sent to the U.S. ostensibly on behalf of the Russian Red Cross, she had no idea that he was in fact a master spy, high up in the GPU. Brilliant and ambitious, Cheftel was also an idealist who thought the Bolshevik revolution would banish poverty and anti-Semitism in his country. When he convinced Bluet to divorce her husband, leave her teenage daughter and return to Russia with him, he felt sure that he'd soon be sent to a glamorous post in Europe. Instead, both he and Bluet became hostages to history. Stalin's ruthless ascendancy and his purges of the original Bolshevik conspirators gain a vivid immediacy in Brooks's descriptions of daily life in Moscow during the accelerating reign of terror and the events that sealed Marc's doom. The author's access to documents, letters, survivors of the era and to Bluet Rabinoff herself before she died in 1976 contribute to a gripping narrative. Some may quibble because journalist and nonfiction writer Brooks (The Woman Who Defied Kings) has reconstructed conversations, but there is ample documentation here of a personal tragedy within the larger vortex of cataclysmic betrayal and misery.
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Brooks recounts the fascinating true story of^B star-crossed lovers caught up in a deceitful game of cross and double-cross set against the turbulent backdrop of post-revolutionary Russia. After abandoning her husband and child in order to join her lover in Russia, celebrated Jazz Age literary hostess Helene (Bluet) Rabinoff traded in her luxurious life in New York for the stark, repressive cultural landscape of Stalinist Moscow. Although Bluet's paramour, Russian physician and old-line Bolshevik idealist Marc Cheftel, grew increasingly disenchanted with the brutality of the Communist regime and the Stalinist purges, she was pulled unwittingly into a vortex of cataclysmic historical events that would forever define her own future. Jam-packed with suspense, adventure, and romance, this incredible biographical odyssey reads like a work of fiction. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
In addition to chronicling the joys and perils of a great passion between two unique people, the book also serves as a cautionary tale about the unintended consequences of idealogy and nation-building. Moreover, it makes clear how historical events affect the most personal of issues: love, friendship, parenthood, loyalty. In sum, an excellent book, well worth reading.
I cannot recommend this book too highly!!!!