Worldwide launch in English of Lapierre's book on USSR

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New Delhi, Nov 23 (UNI) French author Dominique Lapierre's latest bestseller, 'Once 'Upon a Time in Soviet Union', based on his travels in Khrushchev's USSR 50 years ago, will have its worldwide launch in English here on November 27.

The book has been published in France, Spain and Italy with enormous success.

All royalty proceeds collected from the sale of the book will go to 'City of Joy Foundation', a foundation that supports charitable causes in India, Africa and South America.

''It is a book about a country and a people who are no more,'' says Mr Lapierre, who will be present during its launch at the French Embassy on Wednesday.

''Anyone with a bit of curiosity for the past in his heart,'' he says, ''will be mesmerised by this story and 50 years is a good time period to be able to objectively judge a situation.'' One of the lessons Mr Lapierre says he has drawn from his experiences in Russia is that even if people are deprived of their freedom, they always want to know what happens beyond their walls.

The book is based on his travel in the USSR in 1956 when Lapierre, aged 25 and Jean-Pierre Pedrazzini, 27, two star reporters of the prestigious French News Magazine 'Paris Match', obtained from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev the extraordinary authorisation to cross the Iron Curtain aboard their own automobile, and to travel 13,000 km on the Soviet roads.

From Poland to the mountains of Ural, from the villages of White Russia to the beaches of the Black Sea, from the Kremlin to Stalin's birth place in Georgia, Lapierre, Pedrazzini and their Parisian wives discover the secret faces of people hidden behind the walls of the cold war.

As they get deeper into their adventure, they are struck by an alarming question: 'How has the Soviet regime managed to convince a nation deprived of freedom that it is the happiest one on earth?' Mr Lapierre has previously written many successful books such as 'City of Joy' on Kolkata, 'It was Five Past Midnight in Bhopal' on Bhopal gas tragedy, and co-authored 'Freedom at Midnight' along with Larry Collins.

UNI

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