Sakharov by Richard Lourie
A Biography

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Synopsis

"As a thinker, as a man of uncanny judgment and courage, [Andrei Sakharov] was the one figure in the drama of the Soviet collapse who was the equal of Jefferson, Adams, and the rest," wrote David Remnick in The New Yorker. One of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century--the "father of the Soviet H-bomb"--Sakharov won even greater renown later in life as the leading dissident in the Soviet Union. His courageous and untiring activities in defense of human rights won him the Nobel Peace Prize, six years of exile in the closed city of Gorky, and finally, official restitution as a symbol of Gorbachev's perestroika. Richard Lourie, who translated Sakharov's memoirs, has now written the first full biography of this towering figure of the last century. Drawing on a wide range of sources--including previously secret KGB files, as well as Sakharov's own correspondence--Lourie tells the story of a life intimately bound up with Soviet history. With the H-bomb, Sakharov made the Soviet Union a superpower; with his courage and moral conviction, he made it accountable to the world for its treatment of its citizens. His untimely death in December 1989 cut short a budding career as a politician, for at the end of his life, Sakharov had been elected to the Congress of People's Deputies and was engaged in a campaign to reform the Soviet constitution. As a scientist, Sakharov not only helped change the world through the creation of thermonuclear weapons, he also engaged in theoretical research whose ultimate significance is yet to be determined. As a Russian, he has been ranked by his own people with Lenin and Stalin in terms of his influence on the country. As a human being, he set a standard for principled dissent and compassion acknowledged the world over. This intelligent, detailed biography does justice to all aspects of his multi-faceted achievements.
 

About Richard Lourie

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RICHARD LOURIE, an American writer, is a leading translator of contemporary Russian and Polish authors, a journalist, and a producer of film and television documentaries. His books of fiction and nonfiction include The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin (1999), Hunting the Devil (1993), Russia Speaks (1989), and First Loyalty (1983).
 
Published January 1, 2002 by Brandeis. 480 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Science & Math, Travel. Non-fiction

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Sakharov’s fall from national treasure to public enemy was equally a function of changes in Soviet leadership and his own developing consciousness of what was insupportable about the system, and Lourie (The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin, 1999, etc.), translator of Sakharov’s memoirs, well convey...

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Publishers Weekly

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This first biography of the renowned physicist, Soviet dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner weaves the details of Sakharov's life together with the history of the Soviet Union, which barely outlasted him.

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Book Reporter

It's a little hard to believe that this is the first comprehensive biography in English of Andrei Sakharov, the famous Russian physicist and even more famous political dissident, renowned as the "father" of Russia's hydrogen bomb and then mercilessly persecuted when his conscience turned him into...

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Sakharov: A Biography

London Review of Books

For twenty years, from 1948 until his dismissal in 1968, Sakharov masterminded the scientific groundwork for the development and perfection of ever more lethal atomic weapons, blindly and obsessively absorbed in work that he describes as a theoretician’s paradise.

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