Books: The Passion of Yurii Zhivago

Under a white birch tree near a brook sat a young man writing poetry. Occasionally, when the words on paper somehow refused to echo the music in his mind, he wept. The place was Molodi, a village 38 miles from Moscow, and the time was the year of peace 1913. The quiet gardens surrounding his parents' summer house, legend had it, had once served as a battlefield for the Czar's Cossacks and Napoleon's retreating French. Near by, graves dotted the ground.

For nearly 50 years, during which most of his country and the world...

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