Denise M Clarke
Experiences is a wonderful book that tells the story of one mans
rise above the restrictive and difficult conditions surrounding
Life in the Former USSR and Post-Soviet Russia
By The Raven and Marie Claire
Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com Publishing
ISBNs: 1589391772 (paperback), 1589391985 (hardcover)
Was the Russia we
grew up fearing truly a monster in disguise, or a country struggling
through various leaders and methods to find itself?
Russian Experiences: Life in the Former USSR and Post-Soviet Russia
is an eye opening discovery of the true Russia. The Russia of the suburbs;
the Russia of the common worker; the Russia of the struggling family.
No political grandstanding in this book. This is a story of its people.
Its heart and soul.
Unless one went through it, experienced it, and lived it, one cant
ever really know. But a man known as the Raven lived through
it, and with the help of co-writer Marie Claire, he tells his story
of growing up in this Russia to the world. But Russian Experiences
is so much more than just a story, a riveting story of trial and labor,
and of rebirth. It is, in its essence, a moving and dramatic tale of
one mans quest for freedom; not just in a physical sense, but
an emotional one as well.
The Raven was born into a period of turmoil. The economy was poor, even
to the point of many teetering on the brink of privation. Proper education
and training for many jobs and positions in the medical field was below
standard and proper supplies, not only those needed for basic living,
but more important, medical supplies were sadly lacking as well.
No luxuries of supermarkets, shopping malls, fashion stores and private
transportation. Because of a lack of proper medical facilities and care,
the Raven suffered a hearing loss accompanied by a speech impediment
as a young child, thereby forcing him from early childhood to deal with
prejudice because of his handicap. For decades, the Russian ideal of
perfection allowed no compassion for those suffering from physical or
emotional handicaps, almost an Out of sight, out of mind
And so, The Raven was practically ignored, existing without
really existing in the eyes of society.
The Raven grew up in Baku City, the capital of Azerbaijan. His life
there was by no means easy, and compared to standards most Americans
take for granted, at or near what could be considered the poverty level.
Because of the conflicts and recurring strife between native Armenians
and Azerbaijan natives, he and his brother were unable to attend school
for long stretches of time.
Ultimately, the Raven and his family left Baku, where they had lived
all their lives, to move to a region around Moscow where the Raven and
his family hoped for a better life, a better opportunity for education
and employment. There the Raven continued his education, yet even on
the outskirts of Moscow the Raven struggled to gain the education he
desired, one that would enable him to rise above the poverty and narrow-mindedness
of many of Russias inhabitants. Despite an interrupted education,
growing political strife and military tensions, the Raven pursued his
goals and ultimately achieved his degree.
Russian Experiences is a wonderful book that tells the story of one
mans rise above the restrictive and difficult conditions surrounding
him. The story is not only well written from a technical standpoint,
but it is also a very personal saga of the history and transition of
one of the mightiest nations in the world and the consequences felt
by 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 façade of Russia, one rarely seen or
talked about on such a personal level. As a result, this book could
and should be used as 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. In its presentation of both history and humanity,
the authors have managed to cover a brief though thorough birds
eye view of how the Russia of today developed; through the growing pains
and uncertainty following of World War Two, through the difficult and
tense years that encompassed the Cold War and finally to the breakdown
of the Soviet Union.
The co-authors have written a concise, fast paced semi-biographical
story in such a simple and painless writing style as to make pleasurable
though serious reading for any student of political or cultural history.
A unique approach, in employing the anonymity of The Raven
and his co-writer telling the story, offers what many might consider
an unusual though very effective method to encourage an understanding
of one of the mightiest nations in the world through the eyes of one
of its citizens.
Written in a smoothly descriptive style and utilizing rich though simple
language, this book offers something for a wide range of readers, from
High School students to adults.
© Denise M. Clark 2003
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