There are two stories in this book. One is of parents who returned to Russia (by then the Soviet Union), and the other is of a granddaughter who spent years to uncover what actually happened.
The author brings us into her family, as it were. We come to know and care about these people, especially her father, who perhaps gave up the most to return to New Jersey. His family’s plight is played out amidst a backdrop of bureaucracy (both US and Soviet), and the cataclysm of World War Two. The maps provided dramatically bring home the distances and difficulties faced by the family.
As the author sorts through it all, she comes to appreciate her father even more. This is a compelling story that deserves to be read. In many countries, there is a drift toward authoritarianism, either right or left. Not every family is as resilient as the author’s, and there is a lesson in this book.
At times the transition from the actual story and the author’s letters to her father created a little confusion in the narrative. However, as the story progressed, the reader was caught up in this fascinating account. There are books about the heads of state and leading figures, but the “view from below” of history is equally as important. And that is what the author delivers here.
Loved this book!!! its incredible to think that these things could happen to anyone, let alone American citizens, and there was no where for them to get help!
A thoughtful story of an American family seeking better opportunities finds themselves go from a model immigrant family, to refugees during the WW2 in Stalinist Soviet Union, and coming head to head with historical events in the process.
Every now and then you stumble across a book which far exceeds your expectations of it. Do Svidanya Dad Tracing the Story of an American Family Trapped in the USSR by Karen Wardamasky-Bobrow is one of those books. For anyone interested in genealogy or mid twentieth century history, American and Russian history particularly, this book is for you.
The book starts as a letter to a father who has passed away taking with him so much family history. Time and again you hear of family members who never found the time to ask the crucial questions before it was too late and time robbed them of all opportunity. Karen found herself in just such a situation and decided to turn her sadness into a fitting tribute to her father’s extraordinary life and salve her conscience along the way.
The book includes the aforesaid letters, a social history and factional sections – a recreation of how things might have been based upon the facts discovered. It makes for a fascinating read. Karen has proven herself to be a fantastic genealogist. Her diligent persistence was rewarded time and time again as new nuggets of information were discovered by her, proving the old adage that the harder you work, the luckier you get.
I found it a gripping and sometimes emotional read about a period of history that I knew little about. I will look out for more books by this author and should she turn her hand to fiction, I am sure she will make a success of that too.
As an amateur genealogist I was fascinated with the research required and the details the author provided. This is a heartbreaking story of family and survival – doing whatever it takes to keep your loved ones together. Not only is this a genealogical adventure, it’s also a lesson in the history of the region and the hardships in the USSR. You gain an appreciation of the men and women living through an incredibly difficult time. I really enjoyed this book and wholeheartedly recommend it!
The writer’s family story is a treasure to read from beginning to end. Her father’s journey from country to country to country is a fascinating true story that will keep the readers interest throughout. Based on her family’s Russian heritage and their connections to historical events, this amazing true account of her family’s struggles to search for justice and freedom will keep you intensely captivated. A must read.
This book was well written and interesting. It gave the reader a personal understanding of what the author’s father and his family experienced at a time in history when a good part of the world was not aware of the atrocities of life in the Soviet Union, and the fear and despair that the people living there had to face. Martin Wardmasky’s story is one of perseverance and determination. A definite must-read!
An interesting and tragic story tracing an American family trapped in the Soviet Union between the time of the depression and World War II. This gripping tale would make a great major motion picture. I look forward to seeing it eventually coming to the big screen. The author leaves the reader breathless and waiting for more.
I love a look into someone’s life. Great book!!!!