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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant political novel
I first read this book about two years ago and have re-read it several times since. I read the trilogy (Gladiators, Darkness at Noon, Arrrival and Departure) in order and so did this one last and it's the best of the three.
the best thing about it is the way that it pulls apart what drives people to hold certain political views, getting beyond whether they think a...
Published on 18 Oct 2002

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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The book was boring to read
I bought the book to find about the WW1 but it turned out to be a novel instead, so I did not bother reading the book any more.
Published 16 months ago by MoilLA


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a brilliant political novel, 18 Oct 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Arrival And Departure (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
I first read this book about two years ago and have re-read it several times since. I read the trilogy (Gladiators, Darkness at Noon, Arrrival and Departure) in order and so did this one last and it's the best of the three.
the best thing about it is the way that it pulls apart what drives people to hold certain political views, getting beyond whether they think a certain political philosophy has the correct answers into what psychological factors are at play. why do many people on the Left come from relatively good background when the project of the Left is to improve the lot of the poor and disenfranchised?
it ends with the main character aware that non-political indidents have formed his political outlook, and that his views are as much about his character as about whether he believes in the communist ideology, but he decides in any case that some things are worth fighting for.
well worth reading whether you are political or not if you're interested in what makes political types tick.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive piece of writing, 28 Oct 2007
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
An interesting novel written and set during the second world war, focusing on the character Peter Slavek who is a Communist rebel who has been tortured by the Nazi-supporting authorities in a nameless East European country and is now in a nameless neutral country. There is in fact no naming of countries and political movements in the novel; it is all done through allusion and the focus is not on political events but on the moral dilemmas faced by Peter as he grapples about whether to flee to safety in America or join the British army and how he tries to come to terms with the physical and mental tortures he has suffered. A bit harrowing in the middle section, but a good read by a gifted writer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A logical follow-on to 'Darkness at Noon', 25 May 2010
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
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This is the last installment in Koestler's trilogy starting with The Gladiators (Vintage Classics) and Darkness at Noon. While the auto-biographical element of some disenchantment with the communist movement (Koestler himself was a member until 1937) is evident, the main topic revolves around the psychological reasons for becoming a communist in the first place.

The story follows Peter Slavek, an Eastern European communist, who after being tortured by the local regime that already sided with Nazi Germany, manages to escape to a neutral country. While the initial plan is to join the British in fighting Germany, a moral dilemma of sorts develops, where an alternative of a life in the US, free from obligations presents itself.

In the process Koestler has him submit to a round of psychotherapy, to establish his motives for becoming a communist in the first place, and where the desire to fight for the lost cause (of sorts) comes from. This is by far the most interesting aspect of the book and Koestlers widespread knowledge of the field (a modern reader will need to keep in mind that the book was written between 1941 and 1943) clearly shows. In a way it comes across as the author searching and justifying his own championship of lost causes, something he continued to engage in till the end.

In addition to this the book also brings to the modern reader another discovery, namely it shows the marketing message the Nazis used for intelligentsia - not so much based on racial superiority per se but on an efficient, state influenced (but with private ownership) distribution of resources and products and on a technology led new beginning - something much more appealing (even if it was only propaganda) than the message for the 'common man', and a message mostly forgotten today. In essence it very much previewed a vision of the European Union but based on conquest rather than co-operation, the justification being that co-operation with sovereign states was difficult or impossible.

Another element was also of interest - even though the book was written before the end of WW2, when Allies actually got factual evidence of the extermination camps, it contains many very precise descriptions of what was going on there, showing that in-depth knowledge of the holocaust actually existed earlier than was subsequently admitted to.

In conclusion, I would not say that the book is better than Darkness at Noon, it is much more a logical complement to it, written to the same, excellent standard. Reading Koestler: The Indispensable Intellectual (much recommended) in parallel to it will also provide the reader with a bit of perspective on how this book fits in with the author's own life and experiences.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read, 29 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Arrival And Departure (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Arthur Koestler has had some bad press - but he remains one of the political writers of the post war period. This book is revolves around the breakdown and recovery of an 'ex' communist. The plot sounds dull - but the way the book is written captured my imagination. I would recommend this to anyone who loves Orwell or Huxley.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The book was boring to read, 10 April 2013
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I bought the book to find about the WW1 but it turned out to be a novel instead, so I did not bother reading the book any more.
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Arrival And Departure (Vintage Classics)
Arrival And Departure (Vintage Classics) by Arthur Koestler (Paperback - 4 Nov 1999)
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