Books: Notes from Downunderground

EMPIRE OF FEAR (351 pp.)—Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov—Praege ($5).

True patriots all; for be it understood

We left our country for our country's good...

—George Barrington (Australian ex-convict poet), 1796

It is improbable that Vladimir and Evdokia Petrov ever heard this cynical rhyme from the period when Australia was an English convict colony. But it might well have applied to the two Soviet citizens in 1954 when they left the service of the Russian secret police and were granted asylum in Australia. The story of the Petrovs—as they tell it themselves—is fascinating and informative on two counts. It gives a salutary refresher course...

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