A warm, insightful memoir by an acclaimed historian that explores the struggles of twentieth-century Europe through the lives and hopes of a single family—his own
Following his relatives’ remarkable stories, Mark Mazower recounts the sacrifices and silences that marked a generation and their descendants. With a rich array of letters, photographs, interviews, and archives, he creates a moving portrait of a family that fate drove into the siege of Stalingrad, the Vilna ghetto, occupied Paris, and even the ranks of the Wehrmacht. His British father was the lucky one, the son of Russian Jewish emigrants who settled in London after escaping civil war and revolution. Max, the grandfather, had started out as a member of the socialist Bund organization and manned the barricades against tsarist troops, but never spoke of it. His wife, Frouma, came from a family ravaged by the Great Terror yet somehow making their way in Soviet society.
In the centenary of the Russian Revolution, What You Did Not Tell recalls a brand of socialism erased from memory: humanistic, impassioned, and broad-ranging in its sympathies. But it also examines the unexpected happiness that may await history’s losers, the power of friendship, and the love of place that allowed Max and Frouma’s son to call England home.