Moscow in the 1960s was the other side of the Iron Curtain: mysterious, exotic, even dangerous. In 1966 the historian Sheila Fitzpatrick travelled to Moscow to research in the Soviet archives. This was the era of Brezhnev, of a possible 'thaw' in the Cold War, when the Soviets couldn't decide either to thaw out properly or re-freeze. Moscow, the world capital of socialism, was renowned for its drabness. The buses were overcrowded; there were endemic shortages and endless queues. This was also the age of regular spying scandals and tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions and it was no surprise that visiting students were subject to intense scrutiny by the KGB. Many of Fitzpatrick's friends were involved in espionage activities - and indeed others were accused of being spies or kept under close surveillance. In this book, Sheila Fitzpatrick provides a unique insight into everyday life in Soviet Moscow. Full of drama and colourful characters, her remarkable memoir highlights the dangers and drudgery faced by Westerners living under communism.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 350 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 30 mm
'absorbing... an exceptionally lucid and purposive account... this is a book about self-discovery, and about the shy, self-doubting but unusually astute and determined young woman who embarked on it... a remarkable record not only of personal history, but of Soviet and indeed British history as well.' - The Guardian 'As gripping as any spy novel, Fitzpatrick's memoir captures student life in 1960s Moscow perfectly. Against a surreal backdrop of KGB informers, shabby Moscow flats and sedate reading rooms, she also tells a story about growing up, as a woman and an intellectual, with a warmth that is irresistible and an honesty that is almost piercing.' - Catherine Merridale, author of Red Fortress 'A Spy in the Archives is the insanely readable crowning achievement of a distinguished career, a book every historian should dream of writing. Through the autobiographic report of her visit to the Soviet Union, she tells a story of bureaucratic hassles but also of deep and lasting personal friendships.'- Slavoj Zizek 'The vanished world of Brezhnev's Russia brought to life with unususal erve, a disarming candour and a shrewd eye for telling detail.' - Robert Dessaix