michael scammell

Michael Scammell is the author of Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth Century Skeptic and Solzhenitsyn, A Biography. He has translated books by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Nabokov into English and writes regularly about Russian and East European literature. 

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19 March 2014


Welcome to my new website, redesigned by its original creators at Jerusha in a much lighter style than before, with twice as much content and a revived blog by me. For example, I have expanded the...

5 January 2014

Daniel Weissbort RIP

A delay in putting up my new website makes this a little later than I would wish, but I'd like to mark the death of my good friend and fellow translator, Daniel Weissbort, in London on November...

21 December 2013

Natalya Gorbanevskaya RIP

It may seem odd to write two obituaries in a row, but by a strange coincidence, Daniel Weissbort's death was followed less than two weeks later by the death of the former Soviet dissident and...

17 November 2013

Biography Conference in Mexico City

"Under history, memory and forgetting,
Under memory and forgetting, life.
But writing a life is another story.

These lines by the French philosopher and poet, Paul Ricoeur, are a good...

Praise for Michael Scammell

Koestler himself seems so alive he might leap off the page.

Anne Applebaum, The New York Review of Books

A terrific biography... every page is enthralling.

Michael Dirda, Washington Post

Superb biography.

Paul Berman, The New Republic

A prodigy of research in many languages.

Louis Menand, The New Yorker

Tremendous, absorbing.

Neal Ascherson, London Review of Books


John Carey, The Sunday Times (UK)


Paul Monk, The Australian


The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic

The Indispensable Intellectual


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