This is a story of belief, disillusionment and atonement. Long identified with leftist causes, the journalist Eugene Lyons was by background and sentiment predisposed to early support of the Russian Revolution. A "friendly correspondent," he was one of a coterie of foreign journalists permitted into the Soviet Union during the Stalinist era because their desire to serve the revolution was thought to outweigh their desire to serve the truth. Lyons first went to the Soviet Union in 1927, and spent six years there. He was there as Stalin consolidated his power, through collectivization and its consequences, as the cultural and technical intelligentsia succumbed to the secret police, and as the mechanisms of terror were honed. As Ellen Frankel Paul notes in her major new introduction to this edition, "It was this murderous reality that Stalin's censors worked so assiduously to camouflage, corralling foreign correspondents as their often willing allies." Lyons was one of those allies.
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