When the Gods Are Silent

byMikhail Soloviev. David McKay, $3.95.
This big Russian novel by a fugitive from Communism, though short on literary merit, has a great deal of documentary interest. The hero, Mark Surov, is a young boy when the Revolution reaches his village. He becomes an ardent Communist, and tags along with Budenny’s Cavalry, which is fighting the Cossacks. Voroshilov is impressed with him and sends him to Moscow to get educated, after which the Party assigns him to an administrative post in Siberia. Here his disillusionment begins, as he sees the horrors of the labor camps. He is next given a job in the Kremlin; is arrested during the Great Purge; and later fights against the Germans. The novel accents the hero’s journey from faith to loss of faith to bitter hatred of Communism; and it suggests that this hatred has spread far among Russia’s millions.