First published by Jonathan Cape as a hardback in 1982, From the Land of Shadows came out as a paperback from Picador a year later. (For the next three volumes of my essays, this pattern prevailed: the Cape hardback one year, the Picador paperback the next.) I remain fond of the title, although strictly it is a mistranslation. The Russian word would have been more accurately rendered as “shades”. That, however, would have made the book sound like a report from the country where Steve McQueen was king.