“Graham has brilliantly encapsulated and interwoven the major features of Soviet and post-Soviet history in his riveting stories. . . . a splendid and extraordinary work.” —Edward Grant, author of God and Reason in the Middle Ages
“A very lively read, indeed a real page turner . . . Graham’s discussion of pressing ethical dilemmas displays a sureness of hand and a refreshing candor about his own struggles with the issues.” —Susan Solomon, University of Toronto
The distinguished American historian of Russian and Soviet science Loren R. Graham recounts with warmth and wit his experiences during 45 years of traveling and researching in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia, from 1960 to 2005. Present for many historic events during this period, Graham writes not as a political correspondent or an analyst, but as an ordinary American living through these years alongside Russian friends and critics. Graham befriended some of the leading scientists and politicians in Russia, but his most touching stories concern average Russians with whom he lived, worked, suffered, and exchanged views. Graham also writes of the ethical questions he confronted, such as the tension between independence of thought and political loyalty. Finally, he depicts the ways in which Russia has changed—visually, politically, and ideologically—during the last 15 years. These gripping, sometimes humorous, always deeply personal stories will engage and inform all readers with an interest in Russia during this tumultuous period of history.