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My Life in Stalin's Russia: Memoirs [Paperback]

Our Price $ 11.89  
Retail Value $ 13.99  
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Item Number 369373  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   216
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.32" Width: 5.33" Height: 0.48"
Weight:   0.54 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 17, 2007
Publisher   Tate Publishing & Enterprises
ISBN  1598865706  
EAN  9781598865707  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
My Life in Stalin's Russia tells the story of one man and his ancestors who lived through the horrifying experience of life in the Soviet Union during a very turbulent era. Though perhaps a secret territory to rest of the world, the Soviet Union was home to author Roman Schmalz, and in this book, he provides a brief collection of memoirs and reflections in hopes of filling in pieces of a huge puzzle in history. He describes everyday life under Soviet rule, and he offers his thoughts on how the world got to that point and where it might be headed.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General   [54887  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > General   [4424  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > History > Russia   [2760  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
an uplifting story  May 23, 2008
Roman Schmalz's set of memoirs, My Life In Stalin's Russia, is more than merely a family biography covering good times and bad, it is fundamentally a story of how people for the last 300 years have escaped hardship at home, come to these shores, worked hard and honestly, and have created new lives in the United States, as Americans.

Schmalz traces his family history back to his grandparents both paternal and maternal, in Czarist Russian Ukraine and White Russia, farmers toiling the land, living generally in small villages, and buffeted by fate both natural and man-made. Fast forward to the advent of Leninism, Communism, and Stalin's Terror, where Schmalz's father (among many, many others in his village) is taken away, never to be heard from again; where the Communists force collectivisation, murder the kulak class off, and systematically starve the population of their own nation, crimes still hardly known in the west, all of which took place before World War II even began and the country was nominally at peace with the outside world.

The German invasion of the Soviet Union obviously brings its own challenges; while the Germans generally leave his village alone, Communist partisans do not, and the Germans are forced to return again and again. Eventually the population is resettled, Schmalz reveals the nature of his ethnic German background to the Nazis, and is quickly (and not exactly voluntarily) pressganged into service in the German army for the duration of the war. Much of his family is taken into Germany for work. The Western Allies' forcible repatriation of ex-Soviets back into Russia after the war is discussed; more tragedy.

Schmalz succeeds in making his way to the United States, educates himself, gets a job, works his way up, marries, has children, saves his money and becomes very solidly middle class. After all the tragedy of his youth, he has in fact lived the American Dream, and this memoir is in the form of a brief for his family, for those who come after him, to remind them of what had gone on before, and not to take their current status for granted.

Schmalz's overall grasp of history (he provides a concise review of European history since the time of Christ) is not perfect; his writing (in English) clearly betrays that this is at least his third language. But the passion of his story, his vivid and brutally frank examination of a series of crimes and bestialities committed by men against other men in times of war and peace, in the name of ideology and patriotism, makes for a very powerful and personal memoir.

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