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Publisher Description

In this “extraordinary family memoir,”* the National Book Award–winning author of The Future Is History reveals the story of her two grandmothers, who defied Fascism and Communism during a time when tyranny reigned.
*The New York Times Book Review

In the 1930s, as waves of war and persecution were crashing over Europe, two young Jewish women began separate journeys of survival. Ester Goldberg was a rebel from Bialystok, Poland, where virtually the entire Jewish community would be sent to Hitler’s concentration camps. Ruzya Solodovnik was a Russian-born intellectual who would become a high-level censor under Stalin’s regime. At war’s end, both women found themselves in Moscow. Over the years each woman had to find her way in a country that aimed to make every citizen a cog in the wheel of murder and repression. One became a hero in her children’s and grandchildren’s eyes; the other became a collaborator. With grace, candor, and meticulous research, Masha Gessen, one of the most trenchant observers of Russia and its history today, peels back the layers of time to reveal her grandmothers’ lives—and to show that neither story is quite what it seems.

Praise for Masha Gessen
“One of the most important activists and journalists Russia has known in a generation.”—David Remnick, The New Yorker
“Masha Gessen is humbly erudite, deftly unconventional, and courageously honest.”—Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny

Biographies & Memoirs
October 26
Random House Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

Elizabeth1026 ,

Great book!!!

Reading Masha Gessen's book was like learning about my own family's history, since my family is also of Soviet Jewish ancestry. She writes about her grandmothers very personally and lovingly, while putting their experiences in the context of the Soviet era. It is written very well, and I really enjoyed it. Highly recommended for anyone interested in World War II, Soviet and Jewish history.

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