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August 2018: Espionage > The Patriots by Sana Krasikov - 4 stars

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Theresa | 7453 comments Cannot believe I did not figure out until the end that the Jewish Golda Meyerberg mentioned several times was Golda Meir! Incredible novel telling the story of American Jews who go to Russia in the early 1930s as idealistic socialists looking to live in and contribute to the future only to be essentially trapped in the Soviet Union, unable to leave, surviving (or not) Stalin, WWII, 2 pogroms, the Gulag, and not entering the US again until 1978. Story primarily is about - and from the viewpoint of - Florence Fein, the American-born daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants living in Brooklyn. It alternates narrative with that of her son who, during a 2008 business trip to Moscow, is able to read his mother'secret KGB file recently unsealed.

It is a harrowing story, leaving you admiring Florence's incredible ability to survive. But that survival cost her, too, and she is not likeable or admirable. I never understood her idealism, her political and social yearnings that led to her leaving the US in the first place, let alone had her making the decision time and again to stay in Russia (there was a man she followed at first - but that quickly ended and still she stayed). That may be less a weakness in the writing than in my ability to understand her ideology. The only glimmering of real empathy I had was with her belief that there was more equality for woman under Soviet socialism than in the US in the 1930s, and her yearning for that.

But oh does it present an incredible story set behind 'The Iron Curtain', what we called the Soviet Union during the early part of my life! BTW, the USA is not shown in a flattering or good light any more than the Soviet Union or today's Russia do.


message 2: by Joanne (new) - added it

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7895 comments Sounds so good! Great review-added to the never-ending TBR shelf.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Wonderful review! How have I not heard of this book? Golda Meir is one of my heroes. Absolutely love her. I will adding this to my list. Thank you.


Theresa | 7453 comments Rachel wrote: "Wonderful review! How have I not heard of this book? Golda Meir is one of my heroes. Absolutely love her. I will adding this to my list. Thank you."

You are welcome! I stumbled on this one from some list of new historical fiction and was able to getit in ebook from library quickly. It is such an atypical POV, it caught my eye.


message 5: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 8876 comments Fabulous Review! I saw this book earlier this year as a selection for the Jewish Book Club - group read of the month. I even took it out of the library. But sadly I never got to it. Had I known it was Golda Meir, I might have tried harder. I also consider her a heroine of mine. Putting it on my TBR too....


Theresa | 7453 comments Amy wrote: "Fabulous Review! I saw this book earlier this year as a selection for the Jewish Book Club - group read of the month. I even took it out of the library. But sadly I never got to it. Had I known it ..."

To be clear, Golda only appears a few times - the story is not about her or her life, but the characters in the story come in contact with her in Russia more than once.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Theresa wrote: "Amy wrote: "Fabulous Review! I saw this book earlier this year as a selection for the Jewish Book Club - group read of the month. I even took it out of the library. But sadly I never got to it. Had..."

It still sounds like a great book.:)


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