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A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine: Adventures and Misadventures Living Among the Natives

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  66 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
“Seinfeldian humor set in Russia & Ukraine”

A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine is a painfully funny collection of travel nightmares; country and culture shocks experienced by an American living and working among the natives over the past 20 years. It offers practical tips on how to cope with: Sexy young women who view foreign men as potential ATM machines and tra
Paperback, 302 pages
Published July 30th 2012 by Createspace (first published May 12th 2012)
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Nov 29, 2012 John rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a bomb of a book, a chain of petty whines and groans about living abroad. Dr. Parchomenko starts by referencing his family’s Ukrainian origins as his motivation for exploring Ukraine (and Russia). Very respectable. But for the remainder he holds all the people of these countries at arm’s length, referring to them collectively as “Slavs.” Only occasionally are his analyses of “Slavic behavior” supported by references to a particular “Slavic man” or “Slavic woman;” most without names or ...more

I am Ukrainian. I've been living in France for the past eleven years, though. Since I speak fluent Russian, in high school I subscribed for [optional] Russian classes, just so I could get good marks and improve my general grade (or whatever it's called in English). My teacher, I soon discovered, was a hateful cow who didn't have anything nice to say about my country, its culture,its people... Anything, really. She also criticised my [native] accent ("I think the reason why you can't speak proper
Morris Graham
Sep 20, 2012 Morris Graham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Morris by: Sarah Graham
I found the book impossible to put down, but depressing more than funny most of the times. My chickens weren't laughing. Most of what I knew about the Soviet block came from movies. The author tries to keep the mood light most of the time while exposing Soviet and post Soviet Ukraine and Russia. He speaks with authority, having been born in a German work camp for Ukrainians and brought to America by his parents at the close of WWII. What is amazing is the author has chosen to live in Russia and ...more
Sep 16, 2016 Viktoriya rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, book-i-own
Got this book via free giveaway on Goodreads. I knew it was on the way, but didn't expect to get a personal note from the author as well as a signed copy of the book :) Extra point for that!

I was born and grew up in Ukraine. Moved to US when I was about 20, but do visit with family almost every year. After almost two decades of back-and-forth trips I can certainly identify with the author. I started reading the book knowing that almost nothing in it will surprise or shock me.

When I got this book
May 01, 2012 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much more than dark travel humor and culture shock. It's also an eye-opening, easy to read, authoritative account of the harsh realities expats can expect in Russia and Ukraine.
Jan 14, 2013 Marina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, that I won as a giveaway on goodreads. Being of a Slavic origin myself and having relatives whom I visit in Russia, I can relate to all that Dr. Parchomenko writes about. I do agree with the fact that Russia has a problem with burocracy, cleanliness of public restrooms, lack of private sphere and decaying infrastructure, however I have noticed that the author often speaks of the deep slavic soul and wisdom and strength of the Slavic people. So he is ...more
Jul 19, 2012 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: give-aways
I received this book free through goodreads giveaways!

This book was, unusual, and fairly different from what I normally read. And I still haven't quite decided if it makes me want to travel and explore Russia, or stay the hell away!!

A weak American in Russia and Ukraine is a series of short chapters exploring Slavic experiences and traditions as understood from the perspective of someone who lives in these countries frequently, rather than from the more regularly used position of a traveler/tou
Luis Cortes
Jan 02, 2013 Luis Cortes rated it it was amazing
This (A Weak American in Russia and Ukraine) book teleport the reader to locations that are unbeknownst to ordinary tourists and business travelers. Notably, Dr. Parchomenko’s compendium of tribulations is a beautiful and remarkable journey into the reality of the common people in Russia and Ukraine.

Needless to say that each and every one of the book’s chapters made my chickens laugh…,

…, and my soul weep.

Dr. Parchomenko’s crude and elegant words, as well as his realistic perceptio
Sep 23, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well written and informative book. I have yet to see Russia, but with this as a handy guide I feel much more aware. The humor is great but also the experience, my Russian friends even agree on the points made, makes it ideal for anyone wanting to travel to or just get to know more about Russia and Ukraine.
Kirby Hoag
May 28, 2012 Kirby Hoag rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love this book and highly reccommend it! The stories in it are very down to earth, and based off of real life experiences. I continue to go back and read this book when I need a good laugh.
Sep 05, 2016 Aurora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-g-series
Name of Book: A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine; Adventures & Misadventures Living among the Natives

ISBN: 978-0-578-10042-5

Publisher: Createspace

Year it was published: 2012

Overall theme:

"In many respects this is a book about nothing. More specifically, it's about the trvial, banal and yet often fascinating events of daily existence which are aggravated greatly by living in a foreign, largely non-Elnglish speaking culture." (xiii)

"In addition to providing aching souls with a bit of la
Aug 11, 2014 Adina rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I got a signed copy of this book via Goodreads First Reads.

Presented as a series of amusing travel horrors, the book examines life in Russia and Ukraine from the point of view of a visiting researcher from the United States who refuses to live the expat life and prefers going native. Walter Parchomenko has visited these two countries lots of times over the last 20 years, so can offer a lot of insights on how Russia and Ukraine have (or have not) changed after the fall of the Soviet regime.

I'll a
I have received a copy of this book through Goodreads Firstreads. It was signed by the author and had a few words from him also, which I really appreciated. I'm sure they're the same ones he uses for everyone, but it's nice when the author takes two minutes of his time make a small gesture for his readers.

I have to say I didn't find this book to be painfully funny as the description advertises. I was funny in places (the mayo chapter comes to mind), but more often than not the painful part was
Aug 22, 2014 Jasvird76 rated it it was amazing
Interesting. Insightful. Entertaining.

Thank you so much for the Free Copy!

'A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine' is a hilarious read. No matter which chapter or what time I read this book, it always brought a smile on my face.

Yes, this book made my 'chickens laugh' but more importantly it taught me so much more. About another culture. Their traditions. Their politics. Their social life. And their insightful way of life.

Even though each chapter has new characters and a different story to tell
Jun 14, 2015 Tom rated it liked it
Maybe 3.5 stars, but I'm not feeling generous enough to give it four.

Written by a guy who spent twenty years living between Kviv and Moscow, he has some pretty interesting insights into Russian/Ukrainian culture. It can be repetitive at times, as the stories are all able to be read independently, so minor details are often repeated.

Parchomenko is a entertaining enough writer, but this isn't a must-read, unless you have a special interest in Russia/Ukraine. A lot of the "unique" things he point
Rachel Parrott
Aug 05, 2014 Rachel Parrott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Anyone who has spent an extended time intentionally living within a culture not their own will hear echos of their experiences navagating life by anothers playbook. Walter Parchomenko's stories/reflections reveal aspects of Slavic culture that others would have difficulty understanding without many of their own thoughtful experiences. Insight into the Russian and Ukrainian cultures is particullarly pertenant with current events and on going international relations. The dark humor and self ...more
Jan 27, 2015 Smart&Pretty rated it did not like it
On the one hand, every sentence of this book is true. I could never imagine that a foreigner would be capable of depicting Slavic life so well and revealing. On the other hand, the author spent 20 years living and working in Russia and Ukraine, although did not leave even ONE positive comment about these countries or their people. This is so unfair and rude. Thus,to my mind, this piece of literature seems more sad and depressing than funny.
Oct 08, 2013 Zuzka rated it really liked it
Fun and informative read. However, the chapters included a lot of repetition. Could be also somewhat offensive for Eastern European readers, even though I have to admit that the author was EXACTLY ON POINT. :)
Ionut Cristian Andrei
Apr 18, 2014 Ionut Cristian Andrei rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book and highly recommend it! The stories in it are very down to earth, and based off of real life experiences. I continue to go back and read this book when I need a good laugh.
Jul 04, 2014 Sheridan marked it as to-read
I'm very excited to read this! It's a new story for myself and I hope I will have a chance to read it :)
Jessica Mancini
Apr 30, 2013 Jessica Mancini rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
As dictated by "the man"...I received a copy of this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

I'm going to keep this short and simple. Read this book. You will enjoy it.
This book sound like it will possibly make you laugh hard enough to be rolling on the floor, and the all to embarassing moment of wetting oneself just a bit.
Melonie Kydd
What an amazing book - so insightful and fun to read! I think this book should be a must read for students taking cultural studies or travel and tourism students.

Sandra rated it liked it
Apr 30, 2012
Bill Cobb
Bill Cobb rated it it was amazing
Aug 19, 2013
Jez rated it really liked it
Feb 18, 2013
Markdart rated it liked it
Apr 21, 2014
Beth rated it it was amazing
Jul 20, 2013
Lee Chalmers
Lee Chalmers rated it it was ok
Sep 20, 2014
Brendan Walsh
Brendan Walsh rated it it was amazing
Mar 21, 2014
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Walter Parchomenko, a distinguished college professor and civil servant in Washington, D.C. for more than 25 years, was born in a German refugee camp. He is the son of Ukrainian peasants, World War II refugees deported from their war-torn Ukrainian village to forced labor in Germany. After a grueling crossing of the Atlantic in the storage of an ocean liner packed with Slavic refugees, he entered ...more
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