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Michael D. Gordin: Ivan Pavlov, 21 April 2016

Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science 
by Daniel Todes.
Oxford, 855 pp., £25, December 2014, 978 0 19 992519 3
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... It looked​ for a long time as if Ivan Petrovich Pavlov wouldn't amount to much as a scientist. On Pavlov's 40th birthday in 1889, as Daniel Todes notes in his magisterial biography, ‘an unsympathetic outsider might have described him as an ageing part-time lecturer and lab assistant whose only official position was Commissioned Physician at the Clinical Military Hospital, a scientist with grand notions who had just been passed over for two extremely rare professorships in his field ...

Little Old Grandfather

Thomas Meaney: Djilas and Stalin, 19 May 2016

Conversations with Stalin 
by Milovan Djilas, translated by Michael Petrovich.
Penguin, 160 pp., £9.99, January 2014, 978 0 14 139309 4
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... by ‘nomenklatura’, a more systematic term developed by the Djilas admirer and Soviet dissident Michael Voslensky. In the United States in the 1960s, neoconservatives, most notably Daniel Patrick Moynihan, recycled the phrase ‘the New Class’ to refer to parasitic public sector bureaucrats who were making the US ‘a society of public affluence and ...

Living like a moth

Michael Ignatieff, 19 April 1990

The Other Russia: The Experience of Exile 
by Michael Glenny and Norman Stone.
Faber, 475 pp., £14.99, March 1990, 0 571 13574 9
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Inferences on a Sabre 
by Claudio Magris, translated by Mark Thompson.
Polygon, 87 pp., £9.95, May 1990, 0 7486 6036 4
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... Atlantis of the European mind, as vivid beneath the waves as it was above them. Norman Stone and Michael Glenny’s book is a scrapbook of Atlantis, an oral history of survivors from the sinking. Many of them were in their eighties when Glenny’s tape-recorder finally reached them in their close, cluttered rooms and for this alone – preserving these ...

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