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Young Heroes of the Soviet Union: A Memoir and a Reckoning

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4.35  ·  Rating details ·  26 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Can trauma be inherited? In this luminous memoir of identity, exile, ancestry, and reckoning, an American writer returns to Russia to face a family history that still haunts him.

It is this question that sets Alex Halberstadt off on a quest to name and acknowledge a legacy of family trauma, and to end a cycle of estrangement that had endured for nearly a century.

His search
...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Random House
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Katie
I was really excited about this book when I read the introduction, and overall I did enjoy it, but it was not at all what I expected. The introduction, and the conclusion, both attempt to tie in huge historical narratives (inherited trauma; the Russian 'need' for an autocratic leader etc) without really making a clear connections between the ideas and the stories he tells. It almost feels like a he is jumping around. I liked this, but it didn't seem done. I think with some more editing and ...more
TL
Mar 04, 2020 marked it as dnf
I won this via goodreads giveaways (thanks!) All my opinions are my own:)
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Appreciate winning and being sent the book, but just can't connect to it unfortunately.
Jennifer Schultz
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read if you: Enjoy stories about the generational divide, the immigrant experience, or stories about Russia/Russians.

Many thanks to Random House and NetGalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Alex Halberstadt has a fascinating and unique lineage--one grandfather was Stalin's personal bodyguard, while the other was a Jewish emigre. Halberstadt examines this unusual legacy--and how trauma has generational effects--in this moving memoir. He also details the difficulties
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Ted Waterfall
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure how to rate this book as I wasn't sure what it was really about for a while. It starts off by describing an experiment conducted on lab mice in which a pleasant aroma was introduced at the same time as an electric shock was given. Then just the scent without the shock to see if the mice still exhibited a negative reaction. They did. So did their children and grandchildren who had never even had contact with the original lab mice. This raised the question if post trauma can be ...more
Taunya Miller
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I received this ARC during a Goodreads giveaway. The opinions of this review are my own.

In the beginning of the book, there is the results of an experiment conducted in 2013 by researchers at Emory University. The experiment questions whether or not trauma can be inherited. This is the route that I expected Young Heroes of the Soviet Union to take. It did not. What this book is, however, is a memoir and nothing else.

When I read the synopsis for this book, the experiment results in the
...more
Steve Bookman
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I expected an interesting perspective on the incredible days of the Stalin regime; I got this and also a tremendously diverse, vivid set accounts of so much about Russian, Soviet, and American immigrant experiences both remotely historical and relatively recent.

Especially important for the many, like myself, who have families who lived significant parts of this set of experiences.

Those who call this book discursive or unorganized are advertising their own lack of imagination, not making a
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Angelina Barrett
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this book from a Giveaway so I give my personal thanks. This book is great and perfect since I was learning about the soviet union in school while I read this and it helped me further understand the topic. The book way great!
Aletha Pagett
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book, received from Goodreads, is the most thought provoking and interesting saga I have read. The title did not engage me and I began reading with reluctance and finished with the desire to read more of Halberstadt's superb writing.
Heather
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wouldn't have normally picked this book to read but I received an ARC from a Goodreads giveaway. I am so glad I did! I was skeptical with the lead in of the Emory University study and the idea of inherited trauma, but I really enjoyed the memoir. The chapters about the author's grandparents were the most intriguing. I am still not 100% convinced on the idea of inherited trauma vs a learned cultural response to trauma, but the story was very compelling.
M.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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Alex Halberstadt is the author the forthcoming family memoir Young Heroes of the Soviet Union as well as Lonely Avenue: the Unlikely Life and Times of Doc Pomus. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Saveur, Travel + Leisure, MoMA Magazine and The Paris Review. Nominated twice for the James Beard Award, his essays have been ...more

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