Books: Ordeal of a Russian Jew

THE COLLECTED STORIES (381 pp.]—Isaac Babel—Criterion Books ($5).

When Isaac Emanuelovich Babel was ten years old, he saw his father kneel in the mud before a mounted Cossack captain and beg for help while an Odessa mob looted and wrecked the family store. "At your service," the officer said, touched his lemon-yellow chamois glove to his cap, and rode off passionlessly, "not looking right or left . . . as though through a mountain pass, where one can only look ahead." Torn with pity and terror for his father, the boy was also stirred by a sneaking admiration for the Cossack, with...

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