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Release: Immediate

Bardach will read from memoir, Man Is Wolf To Man: Surviving the Gulag

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Janusz Bardach, University of Iowa emeritus professor of medicine and world-renowned plastic surgeon, will read from his book, Man Is Wolf To Man: Surviving the Gulag, Friday, May 22 at Shambaugh Auditorium in the UI Main Library.

The 8 p.m. reading is free and open to the public and will also be broadcast live on WSUI (AM 910) in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids and WOI (AM 640) in the Des Moines/Ames area as part of "Live from Prairie Lights" series of book readings. The reading is also being held in connection with "Global Focus: Human Rights '98," which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Written in cooperation with Kathleen Gleeson, a graduate of the UI's Nonfiction Writing Program, Man Is Wolf To Man (University of California Press, Berkeley) is the story of how Bardach survived Kolyma, the harshest, coldest and most deadly prison in Joseph Stalin's labor camp system - the Siberia of Siberias. It is the only English-language memoir since the fall of communism to chronicle the atrocities committed during the Stalinist regime.

Bardach was born in 1919 in Odessa (now Ukraine) of Polish-Jewish parents. The family moved to Poland in 1920. In July 1940, some 10 months after the Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland, he was drafted into the Red Army, where he was trained as a heavy tank driver and mechanic. One year later, in August 1941, he was arrested on the front line for "anti-Soviet propaganda." He was court-martialed and sentenced to death, but that sentence was commuted to ten years hard labor in Kolyma, located in the far northeastern region of Siberia. Man Is Wolf To Man tells how Bardach survives an endless barrage of brutality-from a near-fatal beating to the harsh conditions and slow starvation of the gulag existence.

Publisher's Weekly says that Man Is Wolf To Man is a "compelling memoir" that is a "worthy companion to such accounts as Alexander Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago."

Richard Pipes, professor of history at Harvard University and long-time adviser to President Reagan on Soviet policy, praises the volume as "an extraordinary story of human brutality, human kindness, and human ability to survive under the most inhuman conditions imaginable. It should demonstrate to anyone who still entertains illusions about Soviet Communism how closely it resembled Nazism."

"That Dr. Bardach ... could have suffered such loss and deprivation and yet have constructed a memoir of such compassion is testimony to the resilience of the human spirit," says Hope Edelman, author of Motherless Daughters. "This book will resonate for anyone who has experienced the transcendence that follows loss, and who understands the necessity of honoring the past in order to live fully in the present."

Released from the labor camp in 1946, Bardach resumed his Polish citizenship and received a stipend from the Polish government to study medicine in Moscow. After completing his residency in plastic and reconstructive surgery, he returned to Lodz, Poland, where in 1954 he became chair of the department of maxillofacial surgery at the Medical University in Lodz and subsequently the head of Poland's first department of plastic surgery.

In 1972, as a world-recognized expert in the treatment of congenital facial deformities, Bardach was invited to join the faculty at the UI College of Medicine and became chair of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He has written more than 200 scientific articles and 12 books on plastic surgery as well as numerous essays.

An important outgrowth of writing Man Is Wolf To Man together is that the authors now lecture on cooperating writing and other topics as part of the UI Summer Writing Festival, Bardach says.

The book is being published in the U.S. by the University of California Press, in Great Britain by Simon and Schuster and in Germany, Austria and Switzerland by the Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (DTV).

"Live from Prairie Lights," is hosted by WSUI's Julie Englander and is made possible by a grant from Prairie Lights Book Store. For more information, contact WSUI at (319) 335-5730.