Released to the public for the first time in in 1887, Esperanto had its specific origins in the fertile brain of a single individual, Zamenhof, and in the particular circumstances into which he was born and came of age. It is the story of these origins that Aleksander Korzhenkov's biography sets out to tell. -- That biography was originally published in Esperanto; the present version, in Ian Richmond's excellent translation, is an abridged version of the original text, prepared for English readers by the author. -- Zamenhof was a child of his times - buffeted by the social upheavals of Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth century, eager to find solutions to social ills, but alive to new ways of thinking that accompanied this change. Seeking to solve the specific problems of his own day, he created a language equally well suited to addressing those of ours. (Humphrey Tonkin)"