|About the Book|
Vilis Lācis (May 12, 1904 – February 6, 1966) was a Latvian writer and Communist politician.Lācis was born into a working-class family in Mangaļi, near Riga. He was a manual labourer, mostly working in the port of Riga and writing in his free time. In 1933, he published his hugely successful novel Zvejnieka dēls (Fishermans Son), making him one of the most popular and commercially successful Latvian writers of the 1930s. His novels have been characterized as popular fiction, not always liked by high-brow critics, but widely read by ordinary readers.Throughout this period, Lācis maintained underground ties to the officially banned Communist Party of Latvia. Lācis was under periodic surveillance by the Latvian secret services due to his political activities. Eventually Lācis became a favorite of Latvian dictator Karlis Ulmanis, who personally ordered the destruction of the surveillance files on Lācis. Lācis wrote newspaper editorials highly favorable of the Ulmanis regime, while still secretly remaining a Communist supporter, and Ulmaniss government generously funded Lāciss writing and a film adaptation of Fishermans Son.Lāciss Communist links became public after Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union, when he was appointed as Minister of the Interior in the puppet government of Augusts Kirhenšteins. After Latvia was illegally incorporated in the USSR in August 1940, Lācis became Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Latvian SSR (nominally, Prime Minister)and served in this position from 1940 to 1959. He was regarded mostly as a figurehead, as most of the actual decisions were made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party. As first Minister of the Interior and then Chairman of the Supreme Soviet, he must take personal responsibility for the Stalinist deportations and other aspects of the police state, and signed orders for the arrest and deportation of over 40,000 people.Lāciss books have been translated into more than 50 languages, with translations into Russian being the most numerous. He remains the most translated Latvian writer.