The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia

Timotheos Tzouliadis, Author, Tim Tzouliadis, Author . Penguin Press $27.95 (448p) ISBN 978-1-59420-168-4

The strength of this history lies in the compelling stories it tells about the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Americans who moved to the Soviet Union only to be imprisoned or killed by the Communist state. Many of those tracked by documentary filmmaker and television journalist Tzouliadis came to the Soviet Union during the Depression seeking economic opportunity or because they believed in Communist ideology. After a quick romance, the harsh reality set in as they were sent to languish or die in Stalin's prison camps. When Tzouliadis focuses on individual stories, such as that of Thomas Sgovio, who was imprisoned for almost a quarter-century before being allowed to return to the West, his words leap off the page. Too often, however, he veers away from his main subject with criticism of American journalists, ambassadors, artists and fellow travelers such as Paul Robeson and Walter Duranty who were either taken in by Soviet propaganda or willing to overlook state brutality. These stories have been told elsewhere and with more nuance, and here they detract from what is otherwise a captivating history. (July 21)

Reviewed on: 05/05/2008
Release date: 08/01/2008
Open Ebook - 448 pages - 978-1-4362-5818-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 448 pages - 978-1-4362-5819-7
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