In 1922, Lenin personally drew up a list of some 220 'undesirable' intellectuals to be deported in preparation for the creation of the Soviet Union in December of that year. Two ships sailed from Petrograd that autumn, taking around 70 of these eminent men and their families away to what became permanent exile in Berlin, Prague and Paris. Using diaries, letters and memoirs, The Philosophy Steamer tells the story of the philosophers, writers, journalists and scholars thrown out of their homeland and forced to join emigre communities. It also explores the fate of ideas: not just those of Lenin, but also of the men who, though forced to leave their homeland, made unique contributions to the cultural and intellectual life of the twentieth century.
Lesley Chamberlain is a writer and reviewer distinguished for her wide-ranging work from travel (In the Communist Mirror) to philosophy (Nietzsche in Turin). Her most recent book is Motherland: A Philosophical History of Russia.