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by Victor A. Kravchenko

I Chose Freedom is melodramatic in title only. It is the work of an average communist party member during the Stalin era. Kravchenko was a technocrat who miraculously cut through the totalitarian fabric of Stalinist ideology to demonstrate the bureaucratization of Soviet life and the annihilation of genuine intermediate social structures, such as families, trade unions, professional and religious organizations. If one is to acquire a real appreciation of the magnitude of changes underway in the Soviet Union, one must first review the actual character of the totalitarian inheritance.
Download I Chose Freedom epub
ISBN: 0887387543
ISBN13: 978-0887387548
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Historical
Author: Victor A. Kravchenko
Language: English
Publisher: Transaction Publishers (January 1, 1988)
Pages: 516 pages
ePUB size: 1767 kb
FB2 size: 1769 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 317
Other Formats: docx mobi lit txt

If you seek a superb, albeit long, volume about life under Communism, read I Chose Freedom by Victor Kravchenko. He presents his voyage from little boy under Czar Nicholas II, to Komsomol under Lenin, to young steel-factory executive under Stalin. He very vividly describes the Five Year Plans, Ukrainian famine, purge trials, relentless bureaucratic meddling, constant surveillance, and much of WWII from the perspective of a cadre in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He eventually became highly disillusioned and defected to America. This book is riveting and filled with chilling details. You might call it a downpayment on The Gulag Archipelago. The edition I bought is about 500+ pages of very fine print. So, it's a physically difficult read. However, the writing is exceptional, and Kravchenko is a highly sympathetic individual with a deeply compelling story. I strongly recommend this surprise page turner.
Kravchenko was at the height of power in Moscow after the revolution and while his life was not nearly the miserable plight of most he chose nonetheless when he had a chance to defect to the USA. Like many inside the Third Reich, his life was good in many ways, but he realized that all that could change with the snap of a finger and like so many others he could be dead at the blink of an eye.

This is a great story of the mental struggle of someone dedicated to something they ultimately know they must walk away from.

Great read!
The author lived through the worst dictatorship the word has ever seen. If you want to get a feel for what socialism / communism is really like just read this book.
I had been looking forward to reading this book for sometime since it has been out of print. This was a seminal book in the process of deglamorizing Joe Stalin and the Soviet Union. The brutality of the Soviets as manifested by the genocidal famines, purges, persecution of religion, and overt aggression and occupation of neighboring countries was known to the West. However, due to the outright denials and other obfuscations by leftists of all sorts, and FDR's administration, presumably to get Stalin to side with them against Hitler, this knowledge was suppressed and did not influence public opinion.

Well, the book is an expose of communism written by a communist. The author makes it clear that he realizes that he dedicated his life to a system that was essentially terroristic, and no effort on his part to instill or elicit decency from the rulers and their underlings was going to work inside the system. That is why he comes to the conviction that the only way to save his people is to write this expose, hoping that outside world could influence the Kremlin, so that they would finally feel some fear for what they were doing. The author was correct, and subsequantly other exposes influenced forces, both externally and internally, and brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, the author did pay a terrible price for his actions, as I am sure he knew he would, his family and freinds in the Soviet Union were severely persecuted.

I dissagree with a earlier reviewer's point that the author was not a confirmed advocate of Western style democracy. Considering the time that the author had after he entered the country, defected and wrote the book, it is unlikely that he could do a reasonable comparative analysis of political systems. The author was convinced that the Soviet system was evil, and that it was much worse than Czarist Russia. Also consider how devastating it must have been to him to abandon this ideology to which he had devoted his life to. I am curious about what his further convictions were.

Overall, this is a very well written book, a credit to the author's ability and his translators. I just wish that the publisher had included a little on the author's biography post the release of the book.
I wish all young people would read it. High School and College Age.
It will never happen because this country is so leftest now and would not
be allowed on campuses.
It is a true story and well written. He was brought up in a communist
country but became a good person with many friends. And at the
first opportunity defected to the West because he saw what a fraud
communism was.
a good copy thank you
Of course he chose freedom. This was an excellent book. I highly recommend. It is a thorough indictment of Soviet Communism and a man's quest for value. The ending was sad, in that he escapes but his wife and child do not. They, and his family left behind, are sent to prison and/or killed. A sad testiment to a personal quest for freedom. In addition, it is hard to explain why some of these escapees never sever their ties to communism. It may be based on their lack of religious belief. He was a humanist to the end.
Victor Kravchenko is a very good writer and a very amazing & exceptional person to live through what he experienced in the USSR. The communism system that he experienced and observed was insane. Somehow people have come out of that system to testify to the West. If only we could and would listen. After reading this there will be doubts about the insanity that the Russian people had to endure under Communism.