The Kravchenko Case: One Man's War on Stalin.
Enigma Books, 750 pages, $28
Even among well-read and educated Americans there are few who know who Victor Kravchenko was. His life illuminates the trajectory of fervent support followed by bitter disillusionment with what was, arguably, the most potent secular religion of our times. This new—and only—biography should go a long way to remedy this situation, and there is every reason to consider it definitive. Mr. Kern (both the author of a study of Walter Krivitky, another high-level Soviet defector, and the translator of the memoirs of Bukharin’s widow) left no stone unturned in his pursuit of information about the life and impact of Kravchenko. Not only did he track down every bit of archival and other written information in several countries, both published and unpublished, he also interviewed everybody alive and accessible who...