Ilya Tolstoy was the third of thirteen children born to the world-famous Russian writer and philosopher Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) and his wife Sonya. Ilya was a journalist who emigrated to the United States in 1918 during the Russian Revolution. He was a consultant to a few Hollywood films like Resurrection and Love that had Russian themes. In one film he even appeared briefly in the role of his famous father. However, Ilya Tolstoy is best known for his book Reminiscences of Tolstoy by his son. The Times Literary Supplement, April 13 2011, looked back to a review by Walter de la Mare of Reminiscences, "Count Ilya's warm and vivid remembrances show how every day of his life, whether touching or playing, eating, reading or questioning, talking, arguing or preaching, riding, walking, cursing, bootmaking or mowing, loving, pitying, hating, defying, weeping, and even proof-correcting, [Leo]Tolstoy showered and squandered his supremely vital personality on his household." Tolstoy lives on in these reminiscences of his son approachable and yet remote. Ralph Borsodi in The Singltaxer, interviewed some of the foremost advocates of the principles of Henry George (1839-1897), American writer, politician, and political economist, who was an influential proponent of the land value tax or single tax. When interviewed, Count Tolstoy stated, "The matter of land is a moral question. I feel that present conditions are unjust. And this is how the Russian peasant feels. The peasant considers that land belongs to nobody but God. He is more accustomed to the idea that he himself is property than that land is property.... Only by acquiring serfs with an estate could the landowners obtain anything from its possession." Count Ilya Lvovich Tolstoy is resting at Evergreen Cemetery.

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