Anatol Goldberg Ilya Ehrenburg.
Viking, 312 pages, $17.95
The Soviet writer Ilya Ehrenburg has long seemed a significant, or at least a symptomatic figure. But significant or symptomatic of what? It is not merely that his career spanned from the first to the seventh decades of our century, with so many changes of fortune or direction, but also that he does not seem to have pulled the contradictions of his own personality together until the comparative and partial success of his last years. The late Anatol Goldberg’s quirky but often fascinating book reflects a rather similar disjunction, in a way which is helpful, if sometimes distracting, to our understanding of the issues involved.
Ehrenburg was, above all, a representative of the literary-political intelligentsia that is to be found in continental Europe, particularly Eastern and Central Europe. (It is not really matched by anything we have in the...