Prison, Politics, and My People
A classic account of courage, integrity, and most of all, belonging
In 1977, Natan Sharansky, a leading activist in the democratic dissident movement in the Soviet Union and the movement for free Jewish emigration, was arrested by the KGB. He spent nine years as a political prisoner, convicted of treason against the state. Every day, Sharansky fought for individual freedom in the face of overt tyranny, a struggle that would come to define the rest of his life.
Never Alone reveals how Sharansky’s years in prison, many spent in harsh solitary confinement, prepared him for a very public life after his release. As an Israeli politician and the head of the Jewish Agency, Sharansky brought extraordinary moral clarity and uncompromising, often uncomfortable, honesty. His story is suffused with reflections from his time as a political prisoner, from his seat at the table as history unfolded in Israel and the Middle East, and from his passionate efforts to unite the Jewish people.
Written with frankness, affection, and humor, the book offers us profound insights from a man who embraced the essential human struggle: to find his own voice, his own faith, and the people to whom he could belong.
"Admirers of Sharansky will appreciate this insider's account of Israeli politics and his independent-minded life."—Kirkus Reviews
"In this inspirational account, Soviet dissident Sharansky (Defending Identity) chronicles his life story and offers his perspective on the evolving relationship between the state of Israel and the Jewish people... The result is a worthy introduction to the life and work of one of the world's most famous political prisoners."—Publishers Weekly
"We cannot help but be awed by it, and pray that his faith be vindicated soon."—Commentary Magazine
"This book can be read on two levels. One is the series of public issues that Natan Sharansky addresses with strong conviction: his belief that Palestinian democracy must precede Palestinian statehood; his consequent opposition to the Oslo agreement and the Gaza withdrawal, then to the Iran nuclear accord; his euphoria at the airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel; his distress at the rise of anti-Semitism and at the religious and political rifts among Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. The other level is more significant, at least to me, having known Natan for about forty-five years. It is the personal and intellectual journey that he describes as he explains himself. Here is an exceptional man, schooled in Soviet doublethink, then finding his Jewish identity and his ideology as a free-thinker, separated from his new wife for a dozen years and locked for nine in the Gulag before rising to high Israeli leadership. Trauma victims know that recovery often depends on good people's support. That he had, giving him power to make from his suffering a lodestar that guides his judgments. You might disagree with him here and there, but you cannot help liking him, because you cannot help looking through the issues into his heart of idealism."—David K. Shipler, a former New York Times Bureau Chief in Moscow and Jerusalem, is the author of seven books, including the best-seller Russia: Broken Idols, Solemn Dreams, and the Pulitzer Prize-winner Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land.
"Sharansky is at his core an optimist, and one who holds an undying belief in the power of the Jewish community. He hopes this book can prove that the worldwide Jewish community is not as divided and fractured as it may seem."
—The Jewish Insider