The Last Man In Russia: The Struggle To Save A Dying Nation

Oliver Bullough, Author
Oliver Bullough. Basic, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-465-07498-3
Book - 297 pages - 978-0-465-07497-6
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-31635-4
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In this his latest work, British journalist Bullough attempts to shed new light on the present-day Russia that has made the once proud country a “dying nation.” Bullough surmises that by “assaulting religion and imprisoning priests,” communism destroyed Russia’s spiritual heart and its people’s faith, thereby doing damage that has not and may never be repaired. Bullough traces “the life and death” of Russia by following the life of Father Dmitry, a dissident Russian priest who was first a rebel and a later a KGB pawn. Pursuing Father Dmitry’s story takes Bullough on a crisscross journey of modern day Russia, affording glimpses into the lives of Russians, which is rich with vodka but little else, least of all hope. By incorporating facts (“Taxes earned from alcohol were greater than the defense budget”) and statistics (“By 1991, the average Russian woman had had 3.4 abortions over the course of her life”) into his retelling of Father Dmitry’s life, Bullough creates a historical narrative that is both procedural and personal. While most of what Bullough finds in the past and the present shows why one Russian priest told him, “I look at the future with pessimism,” the book does end with a glimmer of hope, which is a fitting tribute to Father Dmitry and to Bullough’s ability to find and illuminate a story worth telling. Karolina Sutton, Curtis Brown Ltd. (May)
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