Still, the two remained friends andnoff-and-on correspondents. In Pound/nLewis, Timothy Materer has collectednin chronological order more than 200nnotes and letters that were passed betweennthese controversial figures betweennthe year of their meeting and thenlate 50’s, when Pound signed off asn”Ez” and Lewis as “Old VORT.” Mostnappear in print for the first time; manynare detailed, revealing, and quite amusing.nAll are carefully glossed and introducednby Materer, whose characteristicnintelligence and lucidity combine tonmake Pound/Lewis a splendid contributionnto literary scholarship and a veryngood read.nBrian Murray is professor of Englishnat Youngstown State University.nUs and Themnby Michael WardernInside Stalin’s Secret Police: NKVDnPolitics, 1936-1939 by Robert Conquest,nStanford: Hoover InstitutionnPress.nSoviet Defectors: The KGB WimtednList by Vladislav Krasnov, Stanford:nHoover Institution Press.n.merican diplomats, foreign policy experts,nand politicians desperately wantnto believe that the Soiet leaders arenessentially like us and that, fundamentalK’,nthe want the same things as wendo.’nThe Soviets encourage this kind ofnthinking with their proposals for disarmament,ntrade, and detente, and withntheir laments over the madness of thencurrent arms race and the millions ofnRussians who perished in the last worldnwar.nBut while the Soviets beat theirnbreasts about the 20 million dead innWorld War 11, they remain tight-lippednand silent about the estimated 30 to 70nmillion citizens killed by the Sovietnsecret police on orders from the CommunistnParty. That is whv Inside Stalin’snSecret Police: NKVD Politics 1936-n1939 by Robert Conquest is annimportant book. A short book, densenwith names, dates, appendices, andnfootnotes. Inside Stalin’s Secret Policentraces the demise of NKVD (People’snCommissariat of Internal Affairs) leadernGenrikh Yagoda in the autumn of 1936nand the ascent of Nikolai Yeshov asnhead of the secret police. In studvingnavailable official and Samizdat sources.nConquest uncovers the sequence ofnevents which led to Yeshov’s subsequentnfall from power and the rise of LavrentinBeria in late 1938. What Stalinnachieved in this time period can benconsidered in many respects as dramaticna change as the Bolshevik Revolution ofn1917.nBetween 1936 and 1938, 70 percentnof the Central Committee and half ofnthe Politburo were shot. In the one-yearnperiod beginning in the spring of 1937,nan estimated 3,000 NKVD officers werenkilled. Within two years Stalin personallynapproved 383 execution lists preparednby Comrade Yeshov, condemningnover 400,000 people includingnseveral thousand of Russia’s highestnranking military leaders and theirnwives.nNot only did Stalin liquidate all potentialnrivals, he also killed off thenold-timers like A.S. Kiselev whose onlyncrime was that they could remembernwhat communism had meant beforenStalin took oer. Harder to documentnthan these killings of party, army, andnsecret police leaders is the exterminationnof rank-and-file party members andncitizens. How does a scholar determinenthe precise results of telegrams tonNKVD chiefs in the provinces that sav:n”Exterminate 10,000 [or 15,000] enemiesnof the people “? In any case, Conquestnhas assessed those numbers andntheir significance in The Great Terrorn(1973). His purpose in this book is tonanalyze the political dynamics within angroup of torturers and executioners, sonfundamental to the modern policenstate.nConquest’s challenge is to determinenhow Stalin could kill so much of hisnleadership so quickly, even as he killednoff the executioners.nWhen Stalin began to solidify hisnrule in the early 1930’s he determinednthat the powerful and cohesive secretnpolice must be destroyed. Throughntransfers, phony trials, patronage promotions,nand executions, he split thenNKVD, creating a new faction undernNikolai Yeshov, who had none of GenrikhnYagoda’s professional background.nOnce the new NKVD had completednthe purge of the party, the secret police,nand the army, Stalin had only to arrangenthe execution of Yeshov and hisnhenchmen. Of the 92 NKVD centralnand provincial leaders in 1938, only 10nsurvived into 1939. Once the bloodlettiiignwas finished, Stalin became a heronfor ridding the Soviet Union of Yeshovn—whose evils were ascribed to privatenambition and egomania. Lavrenti Beriantook over the NKV’D using the samentechniques of transfer, phony trials,nawards, promotions, and executions.nnnbut most of the dirty work had beenndone.nAmericans still find it incredible thatnStalin would weaken his country bynexecuting his political, military, andnintellectual leadership at a time of gravenmilitary threat from Germany. But nonone has yet survived as a Soviet leadernwho considered anything above his ownnquest for power. The Soviet leaders wenhave seen since Stalin—Khrushchev,nBrezhnev, and even Andropov andnChernenko—have all been the heirs ofnthe purges. Even a man like Gorbachev,nborn in 1930, was elected to thenPolitburo in 1978 by Brezhnev, Andropov,nChernenko, and the influentialnMikhail Suslov—a party secretary andnPolitburo member at the time Stalinnruled.nWritten from a different perspectivenand employing different methods, VladislavnKrasnov’s book, Soviet Defectors ,nalso provides a wealth of insight into thenvalues and character of the Soviet regime.nA former employee of RadionMoscow who defected in 1962, Krasnovnreceived his Ph.D. in Russian literaturenfrom the University of Washington.nIn the past few years, there has beennmuch sensational publicity about Sovietndefectors, including Soviet UN diplomatnArkady Shevchenko and OlegnGordiyevsky, a KGB station chief innLondon.nKrasnov approaches his subject—nSoviet defectors since 1945—first by anreview of the literature, such as it is,nrelated to defections and what defectorsnthemselves have written. Krasnov detailsnthe motivations for defection, describesnconditions in the Soviet Union,nand offers policy recommendations fornthe U.S.nThe basis for much of Krasnov’s booknis a remarkable list compiled by thenKGB of 470 persons who defected afternWorld War II. Smuggled out of thenSoviet Union and first published seriallynby the National Labor Union of RussiannSolidarists in their monthly, Possev,nbetween January 1977 and June ofn1978, this list gives not only the namesnof the defectors but also updated biographicalnprofiles of each person, completenwith the sentences pronouncednupon them following their defection.nThese lists, corroborated by outsidensources where possible, give us somenunderstanding of the changing characternof Soviet defectors. Under Stalin,ndefectors were usually poorly educatednmale military conscripts, mostly Russian,nUkrainian, and Belorussian.nUnder Khrushchev, the Berlin Wallnmade it more difficult for Soviet soldiersnto defect. Ship-jumping by the sailorsnAUGUST 1986 / 31n