Siberia Bound: Chasing the American Dream on Russia's Wild Frontier
by Alexander Blakely
Release Date: June, 2002
Wonderful book--great story telling. Interesting view of how the author changes and how his ideals are changed through his experiences. We all change after receiving our degrees--most of us don't do that in Russia! I feel like I want to know how the people in this book are doing now--could it be the beginning of something more? Hopefully so. You won't regret reading this one!
A Russian diplomat friend insisted I read this book, and even proudly lent me his own personally autographed copy.
I didn't have to read more than a page before recognising this as an excellently written book and full of accurate perceptions and truths - Blakely not only does an excellent job of describing the uniqueness of Russia from a foreigner's perspective, but also the uniqueness of the US from a Russian's perspective. Both sets of descriptions are insightful into both cultures.
As one that has also been closely involved in Russia (from 1995 onwards) I can confirm his description of the enormous changes that are under way in Russia, and of the bitter sweet fruits of the country's transition to 'freedom' and capitalism. His insightful comments about the US representing a communist ideal, and the USSR representing a capitalist ideal give one pause for thought.
His story seems to start in the middle, rather than at the beginning, and leaves a lot out that I'd love to have seen included. But what he does share with us is concentrated and high quality material, and enjoyable for all - for students of Russia, for students of economics, and for students of humanity. I take solace by the massive omissions from his book in the hope that they presage a second volume to follow.
I echo the Russian diplomat's strong recommendation. Buy this book.