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Swimming in the Daylight: An American Student, a Soviet-Jewish Dissident, and the Gift of Hope

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3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  56 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
There is always some part of the world where human rights are trampled and oppression quashes the human spirit. In the 1980s, it was the Soviet Union. In Swimming in the Daylight, Lisa Paul, a Catholic-American student living in Moscow in the early ’80s, details how she grew to understand the perverse reality of the pre-Gorbachev Soviet regime as her friendship with her Ru ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 8th 2011 by Skyhorse Publishing
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 107)
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Roberta
Sep 18, 2012 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swimming in the Daylight is part personal memoir, part historical documentary and totally a testament to love and the the triumph of the human heart over circumstance and adversity. Lisa Paul had no idea when she arrived in Moscow in the waning years of the Soviet Union to work as nanny to an American Diplomatic family, the the next two years would change the course of her life and leave an indelible imprint on her soul.

The book is a wonderful historical flashback to one American girl's two yea
...more
Dragonlady
Feb 07, 2015 Dragonlady rated it really liked it
When Wisconsin college student, Lisa Paul embarked on a journey to the Soviet Union to take a position working as nanny with an American diplomatic family, she had no idea the impact that trip would have. Wanting to immerse herself in Russian language and culture as part of earning her degree, Lisa spent two years in Moscow and experienced firsthand the oppressive government as well as gaining insight into how the general populace coped. Lisa developed a close circle of Russian friends including ...more
Fran
Aug 28, 2014 Fran rated it it was amazing
Swimming in the Daylight: Lisa C. Paul

A vacuum is defined as an enclosed space from which matter, especially air, and has been partially removed so that the matter or gas remaining in the space exerts less pressure than the atmosphere. An empty space devoid of matter creating the absence of human contact, air, almost like being sent down into a black hole can make a person feel more than just constricted. Imagine living your life within this vacuum. A room whose walls are devoid of anything, p
...more
Michigosling
May 01, 2011 Michigosling rated it really liked it
My reaction to this book might be unfairly biased because I met and interviewed the author, wrote an article about the book, and attended a signing before reading the book. Having been so impressed in advance, I expected to be even more impressed when I started reading, and I'm afraid I wasn't. I was distracted by other reading assignments and I put this book aside for a while and finished something else I had started first before I finally finished this one. I had to go back and reread sections ...more
Lynda
Jan 20, 2012 Lynda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Lisa Paul did a wonderful thing. She befriends a woman dying of cancer in Russia, and upon her return to America endures a controlled hunger strike to enable her cause to be acknowledged and enables the woman (Enna) to be given permission to leave Russia for treatment. We get to know Enna and her struggles. But ( in my view) Lisa is reporting what happened, not exploring the lives of those she met, not enabling us to feel a connection with the people she met. She spoke about marrying Volodra to ...more
Betsy Johnson
Mar 02, 2014 Betsy Johnson rated it liked it
It was a familiar autobiography to me, having also met significant characters in my year abroad. But then, Lisa stepped up and helped those characters in a courageous way. Bravo, Lisa. The writing was sometimes less than professional, but that is forgivable and secondary to the heart that showed through.
Judy
Oct 08, 2012 Judy rated it it was ok
Recommended to Judy by: my aunt Clarice
Characters: Lisa Paul & Inna, the refusnik
I liked the story.
I am sorry to say that it sometimes was tedious for me to get through it. Maybe it shld have been shorter and sweeter (or shld it have been edited better,) I do not know.
My favorite chapter was when Lisa's mother came to visit her in Moscow. It energized Lisa w/ alot of (good) emotions. I did cry during that visit and felt the energy from Lisa.
Rachel
Jun 07, 2013 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this down. Lisa is my friend and I loved reading her words. I could hear her voice in my head as I read this. This must have truly been a labor of love for her, a way to keep her friend alive in her own heart and now in the hearts of all her readers. I have always considered myself lucky to count Lisa amongst my friends, now more than ever! What an incredible story to have been a part of.
Sue Nitz
Feb 03, 2012 Sue Nitz rated it really liked it
It was a little hard to get into this book but the story is a good one and worth sticking with. The friendship of the two women in the story is amazing, the obstacles that they deal with are beyond normal understanding. It is a powerful story of friendship and the strength of two amazing women. It truly gives you an awareness of the greater world and how much we have here in the US.
Caroline Stedman
Mar 25, 2013 Caroline Stedman rated it liked it
Compelling read if you are at all interesting in the Soviet Union, human rights, or U.S.-USSR relations during the 1980s. Not a difficult text, so it goes quickly. Some parts seem like the author is trying really hard to make the reader feel her emotions - the story itself is enough without the extra effort, but still very interesting.
Michelle
May 08, 2012 Michelle rated it it was amazing
So...I have never read anything about the refusniks before. Even though my mothers family is from the Ukraine our Jewish history is NEVER spoke of. I feel terrible for the history and the people it effected. My eyes are open more wide now!
Leslie Dengler
Sep 25, 2011 Leslie Dengler rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and was fascinated to learn about Inna and the Refusniks. What made it even more enjoyable was getting to meet Lisa Paul and talk to her about her book and her life. What a great experience!
Kim Lunsford
I have a famous friend!!! Kjirsten's picture as well as a personal shout-out in the aknowledgements. Love it!
Laurie
Nov 21, 2011 Laurie rated it really liked it
I learned a lot from my fellow Wisconsinite about the history of Russian Jews.
Karen Kubiak
Mar 29, 2011 Karen Kubiak rated it it was amazing
What a terrific book about hope! A must-read.
Chey
Chey rated it it was amazing
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Jun 26, 2016
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Author Interview 1 7 Feb 15, 2011 08:39AM  
Appleton, WI - book signing 1 4 Feb 15, 2011 08:14AM  
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Lisa C. Paul was born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, in 1962, and moved to Appleton, Wisconsin, when she was four. She is a 1980 graduate of Appleton West High School.

She first traveled to the Soviet Union in 1982 as part of a Soviet Studies semester during her sophomore year in college. A year later, she returned to Moscow to work as a nanny for an American family. She lived there from 1983 to 1985, j
...more
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