|(l–r) Cousin Lazar (and yes, there's a family resemblance with my maternal grandfather, Morris "Spike" Kaganov), Uncle Joe|
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Just a Matter of Time
What was the old saying? If you sit on the Left Bank long enough, you’ll eventually see someone you know? That might not be exactly right, but the point’s made.
We have a friend who’s about the same way. No matter where you go in the world, eventually you’ll run into someone who knows him. (Then again, a few of his friends [including the czarina and me] think he may work for The Company -- and if you have to ask, forget about it.)
With all the books I work on, and especially with the nature of my more regular clients, it was only a matter of time before I hit upon a reference to a particular distant cousin of mine. Actually, this same press (it’s Yale) has printed at least one volume of the correspondence between the two people mentioned below. The second one is, indeed, a cousin. No joke. And let’s just say that not all of his accomplishments were as attractive/admirable/mentionable in polite company as putting marble and chandeliers in the subways of a particular city. A more notorious part of his resume is responsibility for the deaths of about 20 to 30 million people.
I've known my whole life the guy was a badass (and he just died in 1991), but I didn't know that his range extended as far as Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright.
You can pick your friends. . . . And for any people I've ever worked with who might say my editorial tendencies can be a bit authoritarian, well, consider the blood that runs through my veins.
In June 1931, at a “special plenum of the central committee of the All-Union Communist Party,” Stalin and his deputy in charge of the Moscow region, Lazar Kaganovich, had announced that the Communist Party had renounced all “foreign theories” of both urbanism and disurbanism, including those of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright. Instead, the new focus would be on Moscow as a model of the urban “socialization of everyday activities,” with Kaganovich in charge of its development.