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This was the third novel of Arthur Koestler's trilogy on ends and means - the other two are "The Gladiators" and "Darkness at Noon" - and the first he wrote in English. The central theme is the conflict between morality and expediency, and in this novel Koestler worked it out in terms of individual psychology. Peter Slavek starts out as a brave young revolutionary, but suffers a breakdown. On the analyst's couch he is made to discover, in Koestler's own words, 'that his crusading zeal was derived from unconscious guilt'.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099515418
ISBN-10: 0099515415
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 11mm)
Pages: 192
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 4-Nov-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » This is the story of Peter Slavek, Balkan revolutionary who has become a hero, now - after three years of torture and jail-safe in a neutral European country and determined to fight with the allies. There he meets and falls in love with Odette, whose sudden departure for America brings on a nervous collapse. Psychoanalytical guidance takes him through his brutal experiences to roots of his emotional problems in childhood. He decides to rejoin Odette in America, and then at the last moment, joins up as a pilot, this time at last from genuine motives of sacrifice. Koestler writes for a discriminating but definitely intellectual audience. This is another intensely psychological, disturbingly analytical study of the illusions and escapes upon which the anatomy of martyrdom too often rests. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Arthur Koestler

Arthur Koestler was born in Budapest in 1905. He attended the university of Vienna before working as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Berlin and Paris. For six years he was an active member of the Communist Party, and was captured by Franco in the Spanish Civil War. In 1940 he came to England. He died in 1983 by suicide, having frequently expressed a belief in the right to euthanasia.

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