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What You Did Not Tell: A Russian Past and the Journey Home
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What You Did Not Tell: A Russian Past and the Journey Home

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  113 ratings  ·  17 reviews
A warm and intimate memoir by an acclaimed historian that explores the European struggles of the twentieth century through the lives, hopes, and dreams of a single family—his own.

Uncovering his family’s remarkable and moving stories, Mark Mazower recounts the sacrifices and silences that marked a generation and their descendants. It was a family that fate drove into the si
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 17th 2017 by Other Press (NY)
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Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vine
This is a moving, and warm, memoir, telling the story of the author’s father, primarily, as well as his wider family. Although life for Mark Mazower was safely contained within the leafy suburb of Highgate, where he grew up, he recalled his father speaking fluent Russian on the phone. He was aware of this other life his family had formerly inhabited. As his father grew older, he attempted to record his memories and, sadly, after his father died, he then began to explore his family heritage.

Athan Tolis
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, history
Hot on the heels of Philippe Sands’ “East West Street” (which was for many the best book of 2016) historian Mark Mazower literally follows up with his own exploration of his paternal grandparents’ roots in the Pale region of Tsarist Russia and treks with them from the part of the world we now call Latvia / Belarus / Ukraine all the way to London.

The background story here is the birth of Socialism in Tsarist Russia, and it’s told from the angle of the author’s grandfather, Max Mazower, an importa
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this a really gripping combination of family memoir and a sweeping account of the turbulent history of left-wing Russian Jewry and the Bund, from the beginnings of the 20th century in Russia to the safe harbour of London and up to the present day. It’s a fascinating story. Through the lives and struggles of one family, his own, Mark Mazower explores the destiny of so many other individuals and families caught up in cataclysmic events. When he started his research, he had no idea about wh ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian
Fascinating, well-written and researched book by a historian, raised and educated in Britain, teaching in the US, raised by parents who were part of the Russian diaspora. Interesting to see how much family history he was able to uncover, in addition to the stories he'd been told growing up.
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian-themed
Excellent. Amazing Russian history as well as family history.
Becky Loader
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Having just read a book on Siberia during the time of the Tsars, I wasn't ready for reading about the uprising of the Bund in Russia.
will update with review later...
Alan Kaplan
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting book about a man's search for his father and his grandfather's history. Mark Mazower's grandfather was a Bundist and Leftist in the dying days of Tsarist Russia. He eventually moves to England during WW 1 where he becomes a member of the bourgeois. Family members of his grandfather and grandmother are scattered all over Europe. Some in Russia, Germany and France.
Some are murdered by the Nazis, other freeze to death in the siege of Leningrad. Many are trapped behind the Iron Curtain.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Een prachtige combinatie van een familiegeschiedenis en een gescheedenis van de afgelopen eeuw. de grootouders van de schrijver waren Joods-Russische emigres, die uiteindelijk in Londen belandden. Hun familie bleef deels in post-revolutionair Rusland en deels in o.a. Frankrijk. Er zijn half-broersen -zusters met ook weer hun eigen geschiedenis. De vader van de schrijver is de meest stabiele figuur in het verhaal. Er is de geschiedenis van de Joodse Bund, van de Russische revolutie, de burgeroorl ...more
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Tells of an interesting aspect of Russian-Jewish history that thankfully both paternal grandparents managed to escape with their lives to the relative safety of England. Less interesting for the general reader when focusing on the more personal aspects of his ancestor's lives - I assume this part appeals more to immediate family members.
Christopher Conway
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, history
This book blends family memoir with history. As the son of a Polish survivor of WWII, I was quite affected by Mazower's tale about his paternal grandfather, who was a Russian Jew and a member of the Bund, a socialist organization. The book managed to be both personal and historical, and it conveyed a poignant sense of the passing of time and cultural change.
Dec 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed this, although it's a pity and a weakness of the book that he so clearly prioritized the stories of the men in his family, leaving the women as sideshows.
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Better than 3 stars... but I felt this memoir was best in the beginning when it traced the author’s grandfather in Russia and then London as part of one on the leftist activist groups. The story of the author’s father was less compelling. The author is a very well known historian teaching at Columbia au. Google his lectures and an interview about this book.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Just couldn't get in to this one. Felt like reading an endless list of historic details versus a story.
Kyriaki K.K
Aug 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mediocre
Λίγο παραγκωνισμένο το γυναικείο στοιχείο...
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goed boek. Gaat over mensen die nog idealen hadden, over vluchten voor geweld en settlen in een vreemd land en de hang naar een kalm bestaan.
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful and informative, meandering at times.
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Feb 06, 2018
Susan C. Berger
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May 10, 2018
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Dec 28, 2017
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Jul 31, 2018
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Jul 12, 2018
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Apr 08, 2018
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Mar 27, 2018
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Mar 06, 2018
Kevin Mittge
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Sep 16, 2018
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Feb 27, 2018
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Mark Mazower is a historian and writer, specializing in modern Greece, twentieth-century Europe, and international history. His books include Salonica City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430–1950, winner of the Duff Cooper Prize; Hitler’s Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe, winner of the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History; and Governing the World: The History of an Idea. He ...more