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The Darkest Evening

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  61 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
A thrilling novel of a young boy's devastation when his father uproots him and moves their family to Russia, where a society of Finnish-Socialists attempt to found a workers' paradise.

Jake's life is turned upside down when his father gets caught up in the Socialist fervor washing over their Finnish mining community in Minnesota. His father decides to move their family to a
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Orchard
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 11, 2008 Cathy rated it liked it
In the 1930s, a young Finnish-American boy reluctantly moves with his family to Karelia, a communist-Finnish state founded in Russia, where his idealistic father soon realizes that his conception of a communist utopia is flawed. Stalin can not allow the democratic and independent voices. Interesting slice of life in both America and Russia.
Erik P.
Apr 21, 2015 Erik P. rated it liked it
The book,"The Darkest Evening,"about a boy called jake moving to Russia. Moving to Russia was very hard for jake because he left all his friends behind and it was tough for him to get used to the environment there. Jake had to move to Russia because of his fathers job. Where Jake is living now is a totally different lifestyle than the one he had before, so he is struggling with his new life. Jake has a brother called Peter and a sister called Maija. This book is basically all about Jake getting ...more
Megan Anderson
Aug 30, 2015 Megan Anderson rated it really liked it
Shelves: formystudents, 2010
This was a good book, but I spent a good portion of it wanting to leap into the pages and tell the characters to stop being stupid. Despite this urge, the descriptions were vivid, the plot was engaging, and the characters were realistic. The only reason I'm not giving it five stars is because the ending seemed anti-climatic. I feel like there should be a sequel or something.

4/5 on here, 9/10 for myself
Carson Hunter
Dec 23, 2015 Carson Hunter rated it it was amazing
Jun 04, 2014 Gabe rated it it was ok
The main character, Jake Maki, is a young finnish boy who lived in the U.S. ,but moved to Russia on account of his father wanting a better live for his children. In the Maki family there is, Arvid(Jake's father), Mrs.Maki(Jake's mother), Peter and Maija(his brother and sister). I feel that the books message was, to fight back and stand up to the people who are trying to harm you. Or, make every possible effort to get away and stay safe. The plot of the story is, after Jake and his family move ...more
"Since Urho was "Church" Finn and Father a "Red" Finn, religion and politics were always at the heart of their quarrels." p21.
When working for the Jansens on their large dairy farm, Leonard and Beatrice (Mattie), I heard about "Red" Finns and some of their ideas and what they had done.
There is another book that I have read about Americans going to help the Soviets build a paradise in the New Soviet state and for the "New Soviet" Man in the 1930's.
What more does any group of people need to unders
Jul 27, 2011 Sherrie rated it it was amazing
This event in history really happened. I had never heard of it. Jake and his family are recruited to move to Russia and start a new life. They are told they will have schools, jobs and homes. But once they get there things start coming apart. Their home is a shack they share with 3 other families. No electricity, no running water and no jobs. But Jake and his father make skis for Christmas presents and someone likes them so much, that Jake and his family are sent to the city to work in a ...more
Devin Dehart
Feb 18, 2013 Devin Dehart rated it really liked it
If you love history then this is the book for you. The story begins with Jake and his Finnish family during the great depression, times are hard on his family. Arvid the dad is a huge socialist and is always going to meetings about moving to the USSR. One day Arvid finally decides its time to leave the small Finnish town and move to the USSR in hope of equality. This dream soon turns into a nightmare. Stalin comes to power and everything turns sour. The NKVD or the Russian secret police arrest ...more
Yakov G.
Oct 03, 2014 Yakov G. rated it it was amazing
The darkest evening is like going into a whole new life and at first you love everything about your new life then all of a sudden it’s not what you expect it to be. At first you are ok with but you start to see things go wrong and all of a sudden it become a fight for survival or life and death situation. It’s a really good book and I like everything about because I love history but for other people they won’t like the extra details the book gives you. I think people who love adventure and ...more
The Darkest Evening by William Durbin is a book about a family that has to move to Russia but Jake doesn't want to go and tries to stop them.

My opinion of the book is that its really good with the story line and how they explain whats happening to the characters. It shows whats happening to each of the main character. Its really thrilling book to read as well.

I would recommend this book to 10-13 year olds because they are talking about the great depression in the 1934s and it has a lot of histor
Aug 16, 2014 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: yal
I decided to read this book because I heard the author, William Durbin, speak at Finnfest in Minneapolis last week. He was on a panel with another author who had written on the topic of Karellian Fever--this movement among Finns to move to Karellia in Russia to build a socialist community. It turned out to be a nightmare, and over a thousand Finns were executed and buried in unmarked graves for not toeing the party line. This gripping story is told from the perspective of the family's middle ...more
Nick Voth
Jan 23, 2014 Nick Voth rated it it was amazing
This book was one of the greatest books I have ever read. The story is solid and will keep you guessing.

The story follows a family that moves to russia looking for work in the mining industry. They believe this job will give them a chance at a new life and help build a new world in russia. Without giving to much away they find themselves stuck in a working nightmare and have to find their way out. I felt emotionally attached when they struggle to live in russia.

Overall this is a great book and
Ashley Desotell
Apr 20, 2011 Ashley Desotell rated it it was amazing
I read this book back in middle school. About a week ago I went and looked for it. I loved it then and I love it now. Well living in the upper penisula of michigan I understood what the places were. I have been to most of them. Just thinking that some people really did this and from my own part of the country just made me speachless. I enjoyed Durbins work in this and am waiting to read another piece of his work
Feb 29, 2016 Lenny rated it it was amazing
The Darkest Evening by William durbin illustrates an adventure of a boy and his family. They move to Russia or in their time the soviet union. Jake has to leave his friends behind and also leave all of the stuff he couldn’t bring at home.They travel in Russia by skiing on the terrain.
You must read the book to find out what happens next
The Darkest Evening By William durbin is an adventuristic book. I would recommend this book to people who like adventure books.
Danny J
In the past quarter i read the book The Darkest Evening by William Durbin. I think everyone should read this book. This book is about a family that moves too russia during the cold war and everything gets worse when they move.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 because it kept me on my heels and I didn't want to stop reading this book. Once i did finish this book i went to the library and i got a new book by william durbin. This book is called the winter war.
Jan 08, 2015 Mrs rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My daughter is reading this book for a class so, of course, I had to borrow it. It kept my interest because I was unfamiliar with this event in history but frankly the storytelling was lacking. It reads more as a nonfiction book. Also, I think the intended audience (grades 6-8) is going to lack a fair bit of context necessary to understand this book.
Ken Yliniemi
Apr 07, 2016 Ken Yliniemi rated it really liked it
Even though this is a young adult book, I would still recommend it to anyone who wants to read on the subject of Finnish Imigrant history, and Stalinist Communism of the 1930's. A Story based on truth of the stories of many people who emigated from Minnesota to Karelia, Russia to work in a communist society in the midst of the great depression. It is truly enlightening!
May 02, 2013 Jams rated it really liked it
In the mid 1930's thousands of Finnish-Americans immigrated to the newly formed Soviet Union. They left Depression riddled America in search of the Socialist dream of free housing, health care and education for their children. What they found was a terrifying police state run by the power hungry Stalin.

"The Darkest Nigh" is the story of one family's escape from Communist Russia.
May 12, 2011 Dennis rated it it was amazing
An interesting tale of depression era Finnish immigrants, who leave Michigan for the promise of living in a newly created Finnish state in the Soviet Union. Reminded me of why communism doesn't work.
Ryan rated it liked it
Apr 27, 2016
Ethan The Talkative One :D
Ethan The Talkative One :D rated it it was amazing
Jul 25, 2010
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Feb 13, 2015
Claudia rated it liked it
Feb 23, 2011
In Flight
In Flight rated it liked it
Mar 19, 2015
Ava rated it liked it
Jan 26, 2013
Brenda rated it it was amazing
Jul 02, 2011
Donovan rated it liked it
Jul 30, 2014
Mark Hancock
Mark Hancock rated it it was ok
Apr 08, 2008
Donna Nix
Donna Nix rated it really liked it
Mar 27, 2012
Sophia rated it really liked it
Jan 17, 2015
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Class of 2014: The Darkest Evening 1 2 Jan 15, 2014 11:56PM  
William Durbin is an author and teacher who lives at the edge of Minnesota's Boundary Waters Wilderness. The winner of both the Great Lakes Book Award and the Minnesota Book award, Mr. Durbin has published numerous books for young readers. Mr. Durbin has also published poetry and essays, and has supervised writing research projects for the NCTE, Middlebury College, and the Bingham Trust for ...more
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