In the December 2021 edition of the Catholic magazine “First Things” acclaimed Papal biographer George Weigel urged his readers to include the prison memoir of Ukrainian Catholic UniversityVice-Rector Myroslav Marynovych as an important book to purchase and read during the Christmas holidays. Weigel is the author of “Witness to Hope” – the best-selling biography of St. John Paul II, now in its 20thAnniversary edition. During his national book tour in October, Professor Marynovych met with Mr. Weigel at his office at the Ethics and Policy Institute in Washington, DC for an in-depth discussion of the current situation in Ukraine. Below is the Weigel’s commentary published in First Things:
The Universe Behind Barbed Wire: Memoirs of a Ukrainian Soviet Dissident, by Myroslav Marynovych (University of Rochester Press). Dr. Marynovych, another man I am honored to call a friend, spent years in a different sort of campground: Perm Camp 36, the most notorious of the Soviet GULAG labor camps. His crime? Circulating bulletins about the abuse of human rights in the workers’ paradise that Sen. Bernie Sanders visited on his honeymoon. Yale’s Timothy Snyder nicely described the life trajectory of this contemporary martyr-confessor in these terms: “When [Marynovych] was arrested at 28, he was an agnostic. When he was released a decade later, he was a Christian ethicist and political thinker. His memoir is a humble, and humbling, account of a man maturing in hell.” Myroslav Marynovych now puts that maturity to work in building a free, democratic, and decent Ukraine, through his work as vice-rector for mission at the Ukrainian Catholic University in L’viv and in several parallel enterprises dedicated to fostering solidarity among the Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish, and Crimean Tatar communities in his hard-pressed country. His book deserves a wide readership—not least in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State and the papal diplomatic corps.
“The Universe Behind Barbed Wire” is published by University of Rochester Press. Copies of Mr. Marynovych’s book may be ordered from the Ukrainian Catholic University Foundation. For further details, please contact Matthew Matuszak at 773.235.8462 firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to high demand, delivery may take from two to four weeks.