I think that I am here, on this earth,
To present a report on it, but to whom I don’t know.
As if I were sent so that whatever takes place
Has meaning because it changes into memory.

—Czeslaw Milosz, “Consciousness”

Among the many enduring literary monuments that have been left to us in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the demise of the international Communist movement, and the end of the Cold War, none has proven to be more profound in its comprehension of the evil character of Soviet power that Czeslaw Milosz’s Captive Mind (1953). Written at the height of the Cold War and at a time when elite intellectual opinion on both sides of the Atlantic—but most emphatically in Western Europe —was aggressively promoting a craven détente with Stalin’s slave-labor empire, The Captive Mind was a good deal more...


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