Stalin's Meteorologist: One Man’s Untold Story of Love, Life, and Death

Stalin's Meteorologist: One Man’s Untold Story of Love, Life, and Death
Winner of the 2014 Prix du Style

"Rolin proves to be a comforting and companionable guide to a gruesome period of history . . . Stalin's Meteorologist serves two functions: for readers to pay tribute to the victims by bearing witness to their oppressor's crimes, and to understand the measures dictators take to silence their enemies, even a devoted husband and father with his head in the clouds." --Los Angeles Times

In 1934, the highly respected head of the Soviet Union's meteorology department, Alexey Feodosievich Wangenheim, was suddenly arrested without cause and sentenced to a gulag. Less than a year after being hailed by Stalin as a national hero, he ended up with thousands of other "political prisoners" in a camp on the Solovetsky Islands. He was violently executed in 1937--a fact kept from his family for nearly twenty years.

Stalin's Meteorologist casts light on the devastating consequences of politically inspired paranoia and the mindlessness and trauma of totalitarianism--relevant revelations for our time. Olivier Rolin masterfully weaves together Alexey's story and his eventual fate, drawing on an archive of letters and delicate drawings of the natural world that Wangenheim sent to his family from prison.

Publication Date: 
December 11, 2018