Books: A City on the Rack

THE TIME OF THE ASSASSINS (375 pp.)—Godfrey Blunden—Lippincott ($3.75).

During World War I, an Albanian was asked how he felt about the war. "What?" he replied. "Two dogs are fighting for a bone, and you ask the bone how it feels?"

In World War II, the Ukraine was such a bone. Ukrainian nationalism, long feared and thwarted by the czars, had been ruthlessly suppressed by the commissars. When the war came to Russia, some Ukrainians hoped the Nazis might be a lesser evil, but they soon learned that between two dictatorships there can be little choice.

In The Time of the Assassins, Novelist Godfrey...

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