Melvin Jonah Lasky was born on Jan. 15, 1920 in the central Bronx at Crotona Park, New York to Jewish immigrants. With origins in an anti-Communist Russian-Jewish community he fought against communism on an intellectual level. He was a literary editor of the anti-Stalinist magazine, the New Leader, at age 22 and was also editor of Berlin Der Monat (The Month launched in Berlin in 1948), which was one of a cluster of magazines promoting a liberal, anti-Communist, pro-American line.
The devoutly anti-communist magazine Encounter, which was launched in London in 1953, flourished under his editorship, attracting leading thinkers and writers, but it’s prestige plummeted after 1967 when it was revealed that the magazine received financial support from the CIA.
His books include a widely translated volume on the Hungarian revolution, Reisesnotizen und Tagebucher, Africa For Beginners, Utopia And Revolution, The Use And Abuse Of Sovietology, his autobiography On The Barricades And Off, and Voices in a Revolution.
He died aged 84 on May 19, 2004 in Berlin, Germany and is buried in the Friedhof Heerstrasse in Berlin-Charlottenburg, Germany.