The son of Victor Serge could not remain indifferent to the great tragedy of the twentieth century: politics. Two themes flow from this: the abomination of power and the distress of the vanquished. The Persian emperor Xerxes is portrayed as a grotesque monster as he whips up the ocean that swallowed his fleet. The Yugoslav dissident Djilas is depicted in his monochrome prison -- but at his work table. Djilas's writings triumph over totalitarianism.