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A Question Of Madness


Description for A QUESTION OF MADNESS by Zhores Medvedev and Roy Medvedev:

"Stop," I shouted, "this is a private apartment."

"It belongs to the state," a hulking sergeant at once answered back, "and the police have the right to enter any apartment."

On May 29, 1970, three members of the Soviet police and two psychiatrists broke into the home of the widely respected forty-five-year-old Russian biochemist Zhores Medvedev and, in the presence of his wife, his younger son, and six colleagues who had rushed to the rescue, forcibly removed him and drove him to a small mental hospital in the provincial city of Kaluga. There (on evidence that he was both a scientist and a journalist) a psychiatric committee diagnosed him as in "incipient schizophrenic" with "paranoid delusions of reforming society," and installed him as a "patient".

Medvedev had known that repressive forces were closing in on him and had suspected why (a scientific work of his, offensive to Stalinists still in power, had been published in the West), but he had no idea who had given the order for his abduction. Coolly, straightforwardly, and with considerable humor, he tells what happened to him in the hospital, where his verbal duels with the psychiatrists who attempted to rationalize his confinement in medical terms are at once the stuff of nightmare and of comedy.

What was happening outside the hospital is told in dramatic detail by Zhores Medvedev's twin brother, the historian Roy Medvedev, who immediately set about galvanizing Soviet scientists, writers, and other intellectuals into an extraordinary protest. He tells how, at great risk, the word was spread; how a steady parade of his brother's colleagues and well-wishers came daily to the hospital, berating the head psychiatrist and the physicians who were "examining" the prisoner; how high government officials all the way up to Brezhenev were bombarded with telegrams, telephone calls, petitions, and strong statements of outrage from such men as the physicist Pyotr Kapitsa, Andrei Sakharov, known as the father of the Soviet H-bomb, the Nobel Prize novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn, and scores of others; and how the affair was divulged to scientists and the press around the world---until, three weeks after the arrest, and in an act as mysterious as the arrest itself, Zhores Medvedev was, with notable bad grace, suddenly released.

On the part of both Medvedev brothers, living and working in the Soviet Union and believing in the potential benignity of the Soviet system, the writing and the publication of this book---with its revelation of a new form of repression of which this is merely one instance---is an act of enormous courage. Their book is moving, shocking, and completely engrossing.


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Condition: Used - Good, Library discard, so usual marking on inside and outside. Inside is very good. Lightly tanning on inside pages.
ISBN: 0394479009
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Published: 1971

This product was added to our catalog on Saturday 19 December, 2015.

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