Archive for November 28, 2012

A Call from Stalin

Boris Pasternak, author of the classic novel Doctor Zhivago, was the recipient of one of the most dreaded events in Soviet Russia. He was a friend of the poet Osip Mandelstam¬†who was a thorn in the side of Stalin. Mandelstam had written the Stalin Epigram which was highly critical of the dictator. Pasternak received a late-night call from Comrade Stalin wanting to know about this poem of Mandelstam. Pasternak instead wanted to discuss matters of life and death with the dictator who quickly hung up on him. Mandelstam eventually went to the gulag and tragically died there. Stalin spared Pasternak, writing on his list: “Don’t touch this cloud-dweller.” Pasternak eventually won the Nobel Prize and outlived Stalin.

Morris the Magnificent

Edmund Morris, biographer extraordinaire and resident of Kent, Connecticut, has just published a book of essays which you will not want to miss. Morris is the author of the magisterial and definitive biography of Theodore Roosevelt ( The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex, Colonel Roosevelt). The new book, titled This Living Hand: And Other Essays, ranges widely over topics of interest to Morris and us. They include Beethoven, Mount Kilimanjaro and Britain’s Imperial War Museum to name only a few. Make sure to try Morris if you have not already done so.

Veterans Day

On Veterans Day please take some time to remember and honor the sacrifices the men and women who have served in our armed forces to protect our freedom and enable us to live the lives we live today. Here is the story of one man’s service in World War Two. His name is James Principi and he served on the aircraft carrier USS¬†Intrepid during the war. Here is his story. Visit the Military Museum of Southern New England right here in Danbury.