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The show trial

Thanks to David Cesarani's biography, Arthur Koestler will be remembered as a crackpot sex maniac. This is a travesty of the man who, for all his faults, saw the truth of both Nazism and Stalinism before the rest of his generation. What motive can his biographer have had for such a demolition?

By Frederic Raphael   March 1999

In the thoroughness of its research, David Cesarani’s biography of Koestler has much in common with his earlier Justice Delayed, an accusingly accurate account of the Attlee government’s recruitment of part of an SS division to work in English mines immediately after the war. Justice Delayed was both brave and-if what is overdue can be-timely. Arthur Koestler, a no less accusing analysis of a key witness of our time, has a somewhat different thrust.

Koestler was a hallowed figure in my youthful literary pantheon, not only for Darkness at Noon but also for Thieves in the Night and, in particular,…

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