Twenty years ago, Mary-Kay Wilmers, best known as the editor of The London Review of Books, began researching her remarkable family history. The result is The Eitingons, a work of astonishing scope and originality that traces several key figures in the Eitingon family—from Leonid, a KGB assassin who helped organize the assassination of Trotsky in Mexico, to Max, a psychoanalyst and protege of Freud’s, to Motty, a fur dealer whose Soviet connections made him the largest trader in the world. Shedding light on some of the darkest corners of the last century, Wilmers’ book functions simultaneously as a family memoir and a vivid study of the twentieth century.
Editor Lewis H. Lapham joins London Review of Books editor Mary Kay Williams for a discission about family and historical memory. Williams is the recent author of of a history about her own family, The Ettingtons, published this month from Verso, whose members were involved in some of the most pivotal actions of the twentieth century.
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