Cover art for Life and Fate: The Complete Series (Dramatised)

Life and Fate: The Complete Series (Dramatised)

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Summary

Kenneth Branagh stars in BBC Radio 4's ambitious eight-hour dramatisation of Life and Fate, Vasily Grossman's epic masterpiece set during the Battle of Stalingrad. This powerful work, completed in 1960, charts the fate of both a nation and a family in the turmoil of war. Its comparison of Stalinism with Nazism was considered by Soviet authorities to be so dangerous that the KGB placed the manuscript under arrest and Grossman was informed his book would not be published for at least 200 years.

Having been a household name as one of Russia's most distinguished war correspondents, Grossman died aged 58 - the banning of his book hastening the end of his life - and he would never know the fate of his masterpiece: smuggled out of the Soviet Union on microfilm, to freedom and eventual publication in the West. Today it is increasingly hailed as the most important Russian novel of the 20th century.

©2011 AudioGO Ltd (P)2011 AudioGO Ltd

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Cover art for Vasily Grossman from the Front Line

Vasily Grossman from the Front Line

Summary

Vasily Grossman, author of Life and Fate, was transformed by his experiences as a war correspondent. Following the shock invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Grossman volunteered for front line duty. Declared unfit for active service he was assigned to Red Star newspaper as a special correspondent. In these BBC Radio programmes, Elliot Levey reads three of Vasily Grossman's front line despatches. The first is a heroic and intimate portrait of a sniper, the second deals with the battle for Stalingrad and the final one details the murder of millions of Jews on Soviet soil: an account that was rejected by the military censor and only rediscovered in the late 1990s.Translators: Jim Riordan & Polly Zavadivker. Producer: Mark Burman.

©2012 Vasily Grossman (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd

Narrator: Elliot Levey
Category: History
Length: 40 mins
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Cover art for Stalingrad

Stalingrad

Summary

A two-part radio dramatisation of Vasily Grossman's dark, honest account of the Battle of Stalingrad; a prequel to Life and Fate - plus Stalingrad: Destiny of a Novel. Epic BBC serial Life and Fate stunned radio audiences in 2011, garnering rave reviews for its powerful depiction of a family torn apart by war in Soviet Russia. Now, with this astonishing prequel published in its first ever English translation by Richard and Elizabeth Chandler, we are transported back to the very beginning of Vasily Grossman’s panoramic tale, as the ‘harsh whirlwind’ of war approaches the city of Stalingrad. As Stalingrad opens, we are introduced to the many lives of the Shaposhnikov family and their partners. Atomic scientist Viktor Shtrum struggles with his work for the State and with his own conscience, while his family live, love and work (despite swirling rumours) to run the city’s power stations, factories and hospitals. Meanwhile, at the Front, we meet old-school Bolshevik Commissar Nikolai Krymov in the thick of the Russian army’s pell-mell retreat before Operation Barbarossa and follow the 'unknown' soldiers giving their lives to hold the line at the Volga. This vivid, gripping drama features many of the same acclaimed cast as Life and Fate, including Kenneth Branagh as Viktor Shtrum and Greta Scacchi as Lyuda Shaposhnikova. Accompanying this stellar dramatisation is Stalingrad: Destiny of a Novel, featuring extracts from Grossman's private journal, translated here for the first time and chronicling Stalingrad’s tortuous gestation and long, tormented passage to print. Written and presented by author and historian Catherine Merridale, with readings by Anton Lesser, this five-part series reveals the dramatic backstory behind the classic novel and explores the beginnings of Grossman’s own journey towards Soviet heresy. Written by Vasily Grossman. Translated by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler. Dramatised by Mike Walker (Part One) and Jonathan Myerson (Part Two). Part One produced and directed by Jonquil Panting. Part Two produced by James Robinson and directed by Jonathan Myerson. Series Producer: Alison Hindell. Original music composed by John Hardy, with Rob Whitehead, and performed by Oliver Wilson-Dixon, Tom Jackson, Stacey Blythe and Max Pownall. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 30 November-1 December 2019.

©2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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