The Maisky Diaries
The terror and purges of Stalin's Russia in the 1930s discouraged Soviet officials from leaving documentary records let alone keeping personal diaries. A remarkable exception is the unique diary assiduously kept by Ivan Maisky, the Soviet ambassador to London between 1932 and 1943. This selection from Maisky's diary, never before published in English, grippingly documents Britain's drift to war during the 1930s, appeasement in the Munich era, negotiations leading to the signature of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, Churchill's rise to power, the German invasion of Russia, and the intense debate over the opening of the second front. Maisky was distinguished by his great sociability and access to the key players in British public life. Among his range of regular contacts were politicians (including Churchill, Chamberlain, Eden, and Halifax), press barons (Beaverbrook), ambassadors (Joseph Kennedy), intellectuals (Keynes, Sidney and Beatrice
Webb), writers (George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells), and indeed royalty. His diary further reveals the role personal rivalries within the Kremlin played in the formulation of Soviet policy at the time. Scrupulously edited and checked against a vast range of Russian and Western archival evidence, this extraordinary narrative diary offers a gripping read and a fascinating revision of the events surrounding the Second World War.
Geraldine Doogue presents Maisky
on ABC Saturday Extra
'Best Read', Selected by Andrew Marr
Mail on Sunday, Dec. 2015
Belles Lettres on the French edition of the Maisky Diaries, Les Révélations inédites de l'ambassadeur russe à Londres (Paris, 2017)
A fascinating, rich volume, brimming over with insights into two radically different worlds. It only whets the reader's appetite for the full three-volume edition . . . which will surely stand as one of the great achievements of twenty-first century historical scholarship.'
'Astonishing! Really remarkable. . . . Perhaps the greatest political diary of the twentieth century.'
Selected for 'Best history books of 2015: The Times, The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, Independent and The Guardian
Selected for 'Best books of 2015': New Statesman, Daily Mail, Sunday Mail, Herald Scotland and Bloomberg Business
Selected for 'books that made our year': The Observer
Selected in 8th place in 'Best of the Best' in all genres for 2015: The Bookseller.