Around California in 1891

Terence Emmons, Author, David M. Kennedy, Designed by Stanford Alumni Association $11.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-916318-46-8
This ironic, witty and politically conscious portrait of California during the late 1800s comes from a Russian medical doctor turned Marxist revolutionary who fled Czarist Russia to avoid arrest and changed his name from Nikolai Sudzilovskii to Nicholas Russel. Russel stopped in San Francisco, where he practiced medicine. He also spent a year traveling around California, recording his impressions of the state and its people. Emmons ( Time of Troubles ), who dug out Russel's unpublished account from the Soviet archives, has added biographical chapters describing, among other things, Russel's bizarre feud with the Russian Orthodox bishop Vladimir and his aborted scheme top. 156 free Siberian prisoners using Mongolian guerrilas. In his travelogue, Russel mocks the American passion for wealth (``Profit, getting rich, first are regarded as a key to the gates of heaven, and then rapidly become identical to heaven itself'') and decries the ``predators of capitalist feudalism,'' such as the railroad companies. Despite his single-minded criticism of the pursuit of profit and his anti-Semitism, his observations about American society are illuminating and surprisingly relevant. Illustrated. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
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