Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dancing Under the Red Star: The Extraordinary Story of Margaret Werner, the Only American Woman to Survive Stalin's Gulag” as Want to Read:
Dancing Under the Red Star: The Extraordinary Story of Margaret Werner, the Only American Woman to Survive Stalin's Gulag
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Preview

Dancing Under the Red Star: The Extraordinary Story of Margaret Werner, the Only American Woman to Survive Stalin's Gulag

by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  359 ratings  ·  78 reviews
The shocking and inspirational saga of Margaret Werner and her miraculous survival in the Siberian death camps of Stalinist Russia.

Between 1930 and 1932, Henry Ford sent 450 of his Detroit employees plus their families to live in Gorky, Russia, to operate a new manufacturing facility. This is the true story of one of those families–Carl and Elisabeth Werner and their young
...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published June 20th 2006 by WaterBrook Press (first published January 1st 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dancing Under the Red Star, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dancing Under the Red Star

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 737)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Katie_marie
An incredible story of surviving Russia under Stalin. Margaret Werner had the attitude that allowed her to stay alive in the most terrible conditions that she had done nothing to deserve. Living as a prisoner forced to do hard labour she became innovative, gained a faith in God and the ability to dance. This memoir shows it is never too late.
Karen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy
I loved Tobien's account of the truly amazing life of his mother, Margaret Werner. The turn of every page was a constant reminder of how grateful I am to live in a free country. I admire her strength and resolve - how many of us could endure one intensely painful dissapointment, tragedy, etc. after another and not only have the persistence to go on living but also to be able to maintain a firm belief in a loving God?

We could spend a lifetime analyzing the better political system as it seems mor
...more
Paul Van buren
I thoroughly enjoyed this book simply because it gave me a look into something I was unaware of. I have come away appreciating a brave people who suffered through a terrible time in history. I have no idea if I would have had the strength, and innovation it took to survive and I can only hope I would have matched the faith needed in a godless society. It is well worth the read.
Shannon
Highly recommend this book! Stalin's reign of terror is probably one of the most overlooked parts of modern history. Twenty-seven million people were killed during the time of forced labor camps in Russia. The story is heartbreaking but also so full of hope and faith. I dare anyone to complain about their life after reading this story. Should be required reading for everyone!
Heidi
Great story of heroism.
Ellen
This is the memoir of a woman who, as a young girl, moves with her father and mother from Detroit to Gorky, Russia. It is 1932 and the father decides that the family should escape the Depression and move with other Ford Motor Company employees to work in the Gorky factory. Under the reign of terror instituted by Joseph Stalin and his minions, the family suffers for years under deprivation, false arrest and imprisonment, and other atrocities.

The only good thing I can say about this book is that
...more
Jelinas
Side Note: If you can help it, try not to read too many books about death camps too close together. It can get very depressing and then, even worse, you could become numb to the suffering.

My friend let me borrow this book at the same time that she lent me Unbroken, and I was cautiously optimistic about it. But it was a mistake to read the two so close together because I couldn't help but to compare the writing, and Dancing Under the Red Stare, sadly, could not compare.

Karl Tobien, the author, is
...more
Jehnie
I'm very torn on how to rate this book. On the one hand, it is a story that deserves to be told. And it covers material that is little discussed by historians. On the other hand, this is NOT an academic history. At all.

The story revolves around Margaret Werner who went to Gorky with her father in 1932 so he could work for the Ford created factory there. Because of The Terror her father was arrested and died in the Gulag system. Later, Margaret was arrested and served her ten years in Siberian wo
...more
Sarah
Wow...what an interesting story and one that is true! After reading this, one can truly appreciate all the things we take for granted. The writing is just *fair* but the subject matter is definitely worth the read. I had no idea Henry Ford sent over Americans to help Stalin develop automobile factories, what is worse the Ford company did not follow up or help them!???! Note: author expresses his religious bias.
Shauna
Another of my book club books. Very good read--true story of a American girl growing up in Stalinist Russia, and her incarceration and eventual release from the Siberian Gulag. Harsh and brutal, yet full of hope and faith as Margaret develops a belief and relationship with God.
Monica
Amazing story of an American woman who moved with her family to the Soviet Union in 1932, grew up there, was arrested in 1945, and spent 10 years in hard labor camps in Siberia. Contains many details about the gulag as well as Margaret's own story of survival and faith.
Lori
This was such an amazing TRUE story of survival. It's also a story that most have never heard of. Who knew that Ford had Americans in Russia and never helped save them? Sheer will and through God's faith Margaret Tobien survived. Read the story and learn more...
James
Jan 09, 2015 James rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: gulag
One of the less interesting gulag books.

Ford motor sent 400 Americans to Russia in 1932 to work at
an auto plant Ford built.
They were to stay 1 year.

The authors grandfather and family and 2 other people stayed on beyond that 1 year.

Why?

The author never explains that, and tells little about
how the Ford plant worked out.

My guess is that the grandfather being a good jewish communist,
stayed on because he wanted to help build up uncle Joe's industry.

But we're never told anything about how/why they s
...more
Caity Murray
Jul 27, 2007 Caity Murray rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: History Buffs and fans of biographies
This book was an interesting biography of a woman who lived through being a prisoner of a Russian Gulag during Stalin's reign. I found it so amazing how she could stay strong and not give up hope of one day being free.
Natascha
I didn't even know this happened! So much for history class. Great book, very informative.
Valerie
Jun 29, 2008 Valerie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Valerie by: Book Club
Thought detemination and finding her own faith, Margaret Werner'life story is inspiering.
Christy
I had no idea these atrocities happened to American citizens without America intervening.
Neven strmski
very inspirational and interestinig history of Stalinist Russia
Emmey
Not well written, but interesting perspective on the Russian gulag.
Jonnie
The Stalinist purges and Gulag prisons are not new topics for books, but reading the account of an American woman survivor was intriguing and educational. Margaret Werner, as described by her son the author, was an intelligent, talented, and determined woman who spent ten years in Soviet prisons and labor camps. Even after surviving a Siberian labor camp, her journey back to the United States was plagued with difficulty which made the last 1/3 of the book as interesting as the first.

Dancing und
...more
Joanna
who would have thought this lady was a Christian.
Lisa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa
Feb 27, 2011 Melissa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all youth and adults
Recommended to Melissa by: Kasey
Courage, inner strength, and resourcefulness were the main themes of this amazing true story of an American girl caught in the political nightmare of Stalin's Russia. I thought this book was well written especially since it read as first person but was truly written from the subject's son. Writing not only someone else's tale but also that other person be your mom and another gender seems quite a feat. I enjoyed it immensely. Some of my favorite quotes from this book are:

"Talk of God, faith, or
...more
Kasey
In 1932, 11 year old Margaret moved to Gorky, Russia with her parents. Her father decided to move them there to work in a Ford car plant. The depression was going in the US, and Margaret's father saw this as an opportunity. Little did he know what he would expect when they arrived. Russia was living in terror of Stalin. It was not a great time for anyone to be there. Although this job was supposed to be for a year, Margaret and her family lived in Gorky while her father worked at the plant for s ...more
Faith Tyler
Faith Tyler
A5
honors English

Dancing under the Red Star was a beautiful, touching, and heartwarming story about an American Citizen who gets caught in the mitts of the Russian Revolution. She slowly tries to make her way back to America. She lived through Stalin’s rule in Russia as an American and at one point a political prisoner. The book was written by her son, Karl Tobien. He wanted her story to be told and to be passed on. Karl wanted her story to be told. He wanted people to see the journe
...more
Louisa
I despise being proselytized at the best of times. What I was not expecting was an account of a GULAG survivor's life to be a vehicle for conversion to Evangelical Christianity.

The substandard writing style aside, I found myself infuriated when every supposed "miracle" of this woman's survival is attributed to God rather than human decency, a sense of camaraderie brought about through adversity and just sheer, dumb luck.

Truly, this book was a wasted opportunity to convey what could have been a
...more
Paul
A surprise read, this book has been sitting neglected on my shelf for a couple of years. How glad I am that I finally picked it up to discover a gripping story of an American survivor of Stalin’s Gulag. Margaret Tobien’s story is told in the first person in this account authored by her son Karl. Frankly, I don’t know where to start extracting from among the nuggets of this story, so I will string out some of the experiences that will continue to both haunt and inspire me.

Ford Motor Company shipp
...more
Catherine
Margaret Werner's father, Carl, was offered an opportunity to join approx. 450 fellow Ford Auto employees in operating a new manufacturing plant in Gorky, Russia. Despite desperate pleas on Margaret and her mother Elisabeth's parts to stay in America, Carl decided to move the family from Detroit to Gorky.

The family lived under harsh conditions from the get-go. But the real hell begins for the family when Carl is arrested on false charges, and then a few years later Margaret is also arrested and
...more
La Petite Américaine
Incredible story of survival, a fast read, and especially interesting for those like me who have a morbid fascination with Communism/The Cold War.

The title is pretty self-explanatory: the story of the only American woman to survive Stalin's Siberian gulags and eventually return to the USA. However, reading the end notes and coming to the "Challenge to the Reader," in which the author (the son of the camp survivor who has written his mother's tale and she told it to him) encourages the reader to
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 24 25 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Man Is Wolf to Man: Surviving the Gulag
  • The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive & the Secret History of the KGB
  • The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia
  • Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s
  • Is Journalism Worth Dying For? Final Dispatches
  • Eight Pieces of Empire: A 20-Year Journey Through the Soviet Collapse
  • The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia's Security State and the Enduring Legacy of the KGB
  • The Great Terror: A Reassessment
  • Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB
  • The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction
  • Hope Against Hope
  • A Romanov Fantasy: Life at the Court of Anna Anderson
  • Among the Russians
  • Too Far From Home: A Story of Life and Death in Space
  • A Writer at War: Vasily Grossman with the Red Army
  • Wild Heart: A Life: Natalie Clifford Barney and the Decadence of Literary Paris
  • Court Lady and Country Wife: Two Noble Sisters in Seventeenth-Century England
  • Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust
Full Circle: The Survival of American Margaret Werner in Siberian Prison Camps

Share This Book