Classic reads

Classic read: Life and Fate

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Vasily Grossman

The new BBC adaptation of Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate for Radio 4 will give this important book a new audience. The novel centres on the life and death struggle at Stalingrad in the winter of 1942-3. The outcome of the Second World War hung in the balance as fighting raged in the city named for the Soviet dictator. As the Nazis approached the Eastern front they had carried out a genocidal war slaughtering millions of civilians, Red Army soldiers and Jews. The defeat of the German forces at Stalingrad was the beginning of the end for the Nazis.

Classic Read: Our new series will revisit a classic novel each month

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James Plunkett

First published in 1969

The year is 1913. "In Dublin Larkin flung his terrible phrase at the employers. "You'll crucify Christ no longer in this town.' The streets were shaking with the sound of his voice, the burden bearers were straightening their backs. They were multitude. There would be no escape from them."

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