Isaac Babel was born in the Jewish ghetto of Odessa in 1894. Possessing a wide social compass, he was made famous by his penetrating collections, Red Cavalry and Odessa. He inevitably drew scrutiny under Stalin but was determined to remain in Russia and be its voice. Arrested in 1939, his papers destroyed, Babel was found guilty of espionage and shot. His final plea was not for himself but for the power and truth of literature: “Let me finish my work.” His voice was not heard again until 1954—his fate unknown until the fall of the Berlin Wall.