Grigorenko Memoirs

by Petro Grigorenko

Book cover for Grigorenko Memoirs

These memoirs recount the full life and times of Petro Grigorenko, the only Soviet general ever exiled, a man familiar with power and with those who wielded it at the top of the Soviet hierarchy.

Grigorenko was born in the Ukraine in 1907. As a youth he witnessed the atrocities of the Reds and the Whites as the Russian revolution flamed into civil war--events recorded here with stunning authenticity. Drawn to the ideals of communism, he became a party member in 1927, a loyal officer in the Red Army during the 1930s, and, as a general in World War II, a much decorated hero.

It was after the death of Stalin that Grigorenko found himself menacingly at odds with the Soviet regime. Unable to remain silent about the injustices he saw around him, he moved into open opposition to many of Khrushchev's policies. That was more than a totalitarian state would permit. In 1964 he was stripped of his rank and imprisoned in a "special" psychiatric hospital. When released, like fellow celebrated dissidents Bukofsky, Sakharov, and others, he was kept under contact surveillance. In 1969 he was incarcerated again for five years, and in 1977, while visiting the United States with his wife, Zinaida, his Soviet citizenship was revoked. Living in exile he wrote this unique inside view of Soviet history, the vigor, honesty, and passion of which is reminiscent of the great Russian novels.

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