The Ransom of Russian Art

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Macmillan, Dec 31, 1994 - Art - 181 pages

In the 1960's and 1970's, American professor Norton Dodge forayed on his own in the Soviet Union, bought the work of underground "unofficial" artists, and brought it out himself or arranged to have it shipped illegally to the United States. John McPhee investigates Dodge's clandestine activities in the service of dissident Soviet art, his motives for his work, and the fates of several of the artists whose lives he touched. The Ransom of Russian Art is a suspenseful, chilling, and fascinating report on a covert operation like no other.


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User Review  - Kirkus

A brisk and intriguing, if rather slight, tale of art-world skulduggery before the Iron Curtain was brought down. Under Stalin, any artist who challenged the prevailing Socialist Realist orthodoxy ... Read full review

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User Review  - Whicker - LibraryThing

McPhee assumes the reader will have a working knowledge of Russian art and artists. Interesting but a bit to list-like in certain passages. Does not go into detail on the actual smuggling of art, a result of the subject's (Norton Dodge) unwillingness to reveal details. Read full review

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About the author (1994)

John McPhee was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and was educated at Princeton University and Cambridge University. His writing career began at Time magazine and led to his long association with The New Yorker, where he has been a staff writer since 1965. Also in 1965, he published his first book, A Sense of Where You Are, with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and in the years since, he has written nearly 30 books, including Oranges (1967), Coming into the Country (1977), The Control of Nature (1989), The Founding Fish (2002), Uncommon Carriers (2007), and Silk Parachute (2011). Encounters with the Archdruid (1972) and The Curve of Binding Energy (1974) were nominated for National Book Awards in the category of science. McPhee received the Award in Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977. In 1999, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Annals of the Former World. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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