Terri's Reviews > Russia: A Journey to the Heart of a Land and its People

Russia by Jonathan Dimbleby
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's review
May 21, 11

bookshelves: other, adventure-travel, general-non-fiction
Read from May 13 to 20, 2011

This book was titled wrongly. Instead of Russia: A journey to the Heart of a Land and Its People, perhaps a more apt title would have been Russia: What's Wrong With It and How Much I Hate It in 550 Pages or Less. If the latter had been it's title then at least I would have gotten what I expected.

Jonathan Dimbleby makes no secret in this book that he thinks that Russia is broken, and that it breaks everything it touches. According to the author, it would seem, the country is broken, the people are broken, the economy is broken, the system is broken, the politics are broken, the food is broken, the environment in broken, the farming land is broken, the future of Russia is broken. It's all broken and broken for good. So, considering all this, I ask you, why would a man who clearly does not like Russia or anything to do with Russia, a man who thinks it's the cesspit of the world, why would this man make not only a documentary about the country, but then go on to also write a large book on it? Well, if you can answer me that, you are doing better than I.
I can't work it out and I gave up trying. In fact, Dimbleby's prejudice and loathing for Russia was so abhorrent that I had to force myself to keep reading from about page 400 and then I gave up with 30 pages to go. I feared his closing opinion in those last 30 pages because I was already beyond irritated with the author. I didn't want to read that he couldn't wait to get out of Russia one more time.

It would pay for this author to remember, that where there is darkness and tragedy, there is also sunshine and flowers. If you want to find tragedy and despair then it will find you a hundred times over, but if you want to find sunshine and flowers, then it will lead you down the path of better cultural understanding. Pick the flowers and walk into the sunshine, Mr Dimbleby, and you will be rewarded...or at least it will make you a better tourist.
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05/14/2011 page 30
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