In this, bestselling author Stefan Heym’s last historical novel, we become intimate with the story of the maverick and internationalist Karl Radek, known as the editor of the newspaper of record throughout the Soviet era, Isvestia. Beginning as Lenin’s companion at the dawning of the October Revolution, Radek later became Stalin’s favorite intellectual – only to find himself entangled in the great purges of the late 1930s and scripting his own trial. Heym reveals Radek as a brilliant Bolshevik journalist and politician whose enormous talent as a writer, political acumen, continuous curiosity carried him through event after event as he found himself at the center of the Communist world.
Heym sculpts credible conversations with Lenin, Luxemburg, Liebknecht, Trotsky, Stalin, and many others (all seen from Radek’s perspective), marked by what some might have seen as distinctively Jewish argumentative skills and humor. As we follow him at every turn of the wheel of fate come to know Radek as a man haunted by the fear that the insurgency will cease to move forward, living his life as a frenzied chase in pursuit of the continuation of the revolution, until the very end. Originally published in Munich in 1995, this first-ever English translation of Radek fashions the inner voice of a unique figure in the global revolutionary wave of the first half of the twentieth century.