Years ago, when I was working on my doctoral thesis in the archives at Columbia University, I met another researcher (whose name I have unfortunately forgotten just now), who was studying American journalists who reported from the Stalin-era Soviet Union. The most prominent of these were the New York Times’s Moscow bureau chief, Walter Duranty, and the New York Evening Post’s Hubert Renfro Knickerbocker. According to my fellow researcher, the archives showed clearly that both men were very well aware of the crimes committed by the communist government and that they deliberately covered them up in order to stay in favour with the Soviets. Both Duranty and Knickerbocker won Pulitzer prizes for their reporting from the Soviet Union, but in 1990 the New York Times declared Duranty’s work to be ‘some of the worst reporting to appear in this newspaper’. I don’t know if my archival colleague ever produced anything from his research, but he did give me this bashed-up copy of Duranty’s memoirs. Their title – I Write As I Please – seems very fitting.