A True Russian Experience: review of "Russian Experiences: Life in the Former USSR and Post-Soviet Russia"
Unless one went through it, experienced it, and lived it, one can't ever really know. But a man known as 'The Raven' lived through it, and with the help of co-writer Marie Claire, he tells us his story in his book 'Russian Experiences: Life in the Former USSR and Post-Soviet Russia'. The Raven was born into a period of poor economy, poor training and few supplies. No luxuries of supermarkets, shopping malls, and fashion stores and private transportation. Due to lack of proper medical care, The Raven suffered a hearing loss accompanied by a speech impediment, thereby forced from then on to deal with prejudice because of his handicap. The Raven grew up in Baku City, the capital of Azerbaijan, his life by no means easy. Because of the conflicts between native Armenians and Azerbaijan natives, he and his brother were not allowed to go to school for long stretches of time. Ultimately, The Raven and his family left Baku, where they had lived all their lives, and moved to a region around Moscow where The Raven continued his education. Yet even there The Raven had to struggle to gain that education, one that finally enabled him to rise above the poverty and narrow-mindedness of many of Russia's inhabitants.
Russian Experiences is a wonderful book that tells the story of one man's rise above the restrictive conditions surrounding him. The story is not only well written, but also a very personal saga of the history and transition of one of the mightiest nations in the world and the consequences of its complicated political history. Through the eyes of The Raven and Marie Claire, a reader of this tale begins to understand there is much behind the faГade of Russia, one rarely seen or talked about on such a personal level. This book is a primer for one to gain a better understanding of what Russia was and is all about, a book told through the eyes of one man who fought against prejudice and poor living conditions to gain an identity he could be proud of. Russian Experiences is an excellent format for anyone to utilize, from either a social or personal perspective, in order to experience and learn about Russia's history, culture, and the indomitable spirit of many of its people. This reviewer gives it an A in its writing style and in its presentation of both history and humanity.
Life in the Former USSR and Post-Soviet Russia
By The Raven and Marie Claire
Virtualbookworm.com Publishing Inc. (http://www.virtualbookworm.com)
ISBN 1-58939-177-2 (softcover) $12.95
ISBN 1-58939-198-5 (hardcover) $17.95
Reviewed by Denise M. Clark (http://www.denisemclark.com) -- June 2002
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