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From the reign of Tsar Nicholas II to the brutal cult of Stalin to the ebullient, uncertain days of perestroika, nowhere has the inextricable relationship between politics and culture been more starkly illustrated than in twentieth-century Russia.
In the first book to fully examine the intricate and often deadly interconnection between Russian rulers and Russian artists, cultural historian Solomon Volkov brings to life the experiences that inspired artists like Tolstoy, Stravinsky, Akhmatova, Nijinsky, Nabokov, and Eisenstein to create some of the greatest masterpieces of our time.
Epic in scope and intimate in detail, The Magical Chorus is the definitive account of a remarkable era in Russia's complex cultural life.
“A sweeping eulogy to one of the gilded eras of Western culture. . . . The Magical Chorus rewards readers with a gold mine of insider anecdotes.” —The Washington Post Book World
“An ideal guide, clear but still subtle and nuanced, to the rich complexity of Russian culture, its splendors, controversies, achievements, and tragedies throughout the twentieth century. Volkov evokes the excitement of that far-off time with compelling immediacy.” —Los Angeles Times
“Volkov offers a unique perspective from his position as an eyewitness: He had close friendships with many of the people he describes and his work is filled with an insider's insights.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“For lovers of Russian culture, [Volkov's] vignettes and portraits . . . are a joy to consume, as is his analysis of their legacies.” —The New York Sun