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Peter Gourevitch had a remarkable set of parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, and his account of their lives across the 20th century is also a history of those years—and a reflection on the experience of men and women who lived in hard times and made fateful choices. They were revolutionaries in czarist Russia, Menshevik oppositionists in Bolshevik Russia, Jewish socialists in Berlin who fled the Nazis to Paris and then to Toulouse and Nice in Vichy France. Some of them died in Russia, Stalin’s victims; some of them died in Auschwitz; some of them escaped to America, with the help of the American Federation of Labor and the Jewish Labor Committee—a largely untold story. Peter has reconstructed their lives from family legends, the archives of brutal regimes, personal letters, official documents, and his own memories. He tells an extraordinarily engaging and moving tale, and concludes with an incisive argument about what we can learn from it about history and politics.


Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton


“This gem of a book by a distinguished political scientist records the absorbing history of his family. Profoundly uplifting and sad, these stories search for family roots in the escape routes from the revolutionary vengeance of the Bolsheviks, the Holocaust of the Nazis, and Stalin’ Gulag. Contingency, context, complexity and causality bring to light different circumstances and choices marked by survival and death, resilience and courage. Peter Gourevitch’s curiosity and passion makes a cruel past part of our unsettled present.”


Peter Joachim Katzenstein FBA is a German-American political scientist. He is the Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies at Cornell University. Former President of the American Political Science Association.

Who Lived, Who Died? (eBook)

SKU: 978-1-64504-318-8
  • Who Lived, Who Died?

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