The Philosophy Steamer: Lenin and the Exile of the Intelligensia by Lesley Chamberlain
'Compelling, laudably unsentimental and deeply significant.' -- Frances Stonar Saunders, Guardian
In 1922, Lenin personally drew up a list of some 220 'undesirable' intellectuals to be deported in preparation for the creation of the Soviet Union in December of that year. Two ships sailed from Petrograd that autumn, taking around 70 of these eminent men and their families away to what became permanent exile in Berlin, Prague and Paris. Using diaries, letters and memoirs, The Philosophy Steamer tells the story of the philosophers, writers, journalists and scholars thrown out of their homeland and forced to join emigre communities. It also explores the fate of ideas: not just those of Lenin, but also of the men who, though forced to leave their homeland, made unique contributions to the cultural and intellectual life of the twentieth century.
'Chamberlain movingly describes the experience of exile in ways that echo that great exile novelist Nabokov himself... a richly humane and complex book of enormous spiritual depth by a remarkably talented author.' -- Michael Burleigh, Sunday Telegraph