Never Alone: Natan Sharansky and David Remnick

Thu. Sep 10, 2020 8:00pm - 9:00pm EDT
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The Joy Gottesman Ungerleider Lecture

In conversation with David Remnick, Natan Sharansky discusses his new memoir, Never Alone: Prison, Politics, and My People, and his multiple lives as a political prisoner, Israeli politician, and human rights activist.  

Wandering in Strange Lands book coverNatan (then Anatoly) Sharansky, came into prominence in the 1970s as a human rights activist and political dissident in the Soviet Union. A leader of the Moscow Helsinki Group and an outspoken proponent of the movement for free Jewish emigration, he was arrested by the KGB in 1977 at the age of 30 and convicted on false charges of treason and espionage. He spent nine years as a political prisoner, many of them in harsh solitary confinement; his release in 1986 followed an intense international pressure campaign spearheaded by his wife, Avital. In Never Alone, Sharansky reveals how his years in prison prepared him for a very public life, after his release, as an Israeli politician and Jewish communal leader. The book co-written with historian Gil Troy, 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. 

Sharansky speaks about his book and his life with New Yorker editor David Remnick.

The annual Joy Gottesman Ungerleider Lecture explores themes represented in the holdings of The New York Public Library's Dorot Jewish Division. This series has been made possible by a generous grant from the Dorot Foundation. 

LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the support of Library patrons and friends, as well as by the continuing generoisty of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, and the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund.

Natan Sharansky was born in Donetsk, Ukraine. He was a spokesman for the human rights movement, a prisoner of Zion, and a leader in the struggle for the right of Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel. Sharansky was released from prison in 1986. In his first few years in Israel, he established the Zionist Forum to assist Soviet olim in their absorption in Israel. In the 1990s, he established the Yisrael B'Aliyah party and served in four successive Israeli governments, as Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. In 2018 he received the highest Israeli award: the Israel Prize for promoting Aliyah and the ingathering of the exiles. He is also the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the only living non-American citizen to receive two of the United States's highest awards. From 2009 to 2018 Sharansky served as Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel. In July 2019 he became Chair of The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy. Sharansky is also the author of four books: Fear No Evil, The Case for Democracy, Defending Identity, and Never Alone: Prison, Politics, and My People

 David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker since 1998, began his career at The Washington Post, in 1982. He is the author of several books, including The Bridge, King of the World, Resurrection, and Lenin's Tomb, for which he received both the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction and a George Polk Award for excellence in journalism. He became a staff writer at The New Yorker in 1992 and has since written more than 200 pieces for the magazine. In 2015, he debuted as the host of the national radio program and podcast, The New Yorker Radio Hour, which airs weekly. Under Remnick's leadership, The New Yorker has become the country's most honored magazine, with 178 National Magazine Award nominations and 48 wins. In 2016, it became the first magazine to receive a Pulitzer Prize for its writing, and now has won six, including the gold medal for public service.

Gil Troy is a Distinguished Scholar in North American History at McGill University currently living in Jerusalem. Recently designated an Algemeiner J100, one of the top 100 people "positively influencing Jewish life," Troy is the author of The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s, and eight other books on the American presidency. Troy also edited and updated the multi-volume History of American Presidential Campaigns, originally edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and Fred Israel. With Natan Sharansky, Troy co-authored Never Alone: Prison, Politics and My People. His other previous books include Moynihan's Moment: America's Fight against Zionism as Racism. He appeared as a featured commentator on CNN's multipart documentaries The EightiesThe Nineties, and The 2000s and has published essays in the American, Canadian, and Israeli media. Troy writes a monthly column for the Daily Beast, "Secret Lives," putting current events in historical perspective, and writes a weekly column for the Jerusalem Post.

If you have a NYPL library card—or live in New York state and want to apply for one now—you can borrow Never Alone for free with our e-reader app SimplyE, available for iOS and Android devices.

Readers everywhere who wish to purchase copies of Never Alone can do so at The New York Public Library Shop. All proceeds benefit The New York Public Library. Plus, receive a free 125th Anniversary tote bag with your purchase! 

This program will be streamed on Zoom and simulcast to YouTube. You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link. Captions for this event will be provided. 

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