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A Train to Potevka

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A Train To Potevka

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More About This Book

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781598720303
  • Publisher: Brigham Distributing
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Pages: 305
  • Sales rank: 494,694
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 17 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    A waster of time and money!

    The writer warns the reader that "Within the context of the story, the book contains background information - albeit limited - regarding the Bolshevik Revolution, the establishment of the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Russia, the Soviet KGB, the Russian mafia, and the Trans-Siberian Railway. Therefore, when you as the reader come upon such background information and it has no interest for you, please skip the material; my main objective is that you enjoy the story." Sadly, this is the ONLY part of the story that is interesting and even some of that is incorrect. I've lived in the former U.S.S.R. and should know!

    Instead of a good old fashioned spy thriller as the title would suggest, the reader is left with a tome that is 30-40% material espousing the writer's deep and abiding Mormon faith and the miracles performed by the Lord during his subject's flight from Siberia. There is also a case made that Mormons make the best intelligence officers because of the missionary work that they do in foreign countries! This book should be categorized as Religion, not Fiction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2008

    book should have been described as a memoir

    I love mysteries and was interested in learning more about Russia. This book looked like a good combination of both. For members of his family and/or faith, I have no doubt it is an outstanding book. He writes of his family with great love and of his faith with great devotion. It is obvious that both sustained him through very difficult times. But for me, falling into neither group, only the first third of the book was of interest. The first 100 pages or so cover the train ride to Potevka. They are interesting and gave me many insights into the life of a spy, as well as into Russian life. If the book had ended there, I'd recommend it. The last 200 plus pages, however, spent way too much time reminiscing about his life growing up in Utah and especially his revered mother. A wonderful book for his descendents and friends to enjoy and treasure but not so interesting for a stranger.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2008

    A wonderful surprise find

    As a fan both of espionage tales and trains, when I saw this book at a local Costco this Christmas, I knew there was no way I was going to pass it up. Well, this was one of the better blind book purchases I have ever made. Mr. Ramsdell's tale of Gorbachev-era American intelligence work in the collapsing Soviet Union would make a fine spy movie on its own, but what truly sets this book apart is the author's attention to the details of his adventures in this fascinating milieu, everything from the smell of the trains to the smiles on strangers' faces, from the bone-deadening cold of a Siberian blizzard to the joy of eating 'Bolzhoi Maks' at a newly-opened Moscow McDonald's. Even more heartening is Mr. Ramsdell's open, unabashed examination of his faith in God, as a Mormon, through even the most trying times of privation and suffering. I am not surprised that it seems that Mr. Ramsdell had to self-publish this book, as its Christian themes of love and forgiveness of oneself and others, because this is, unfortunately, unacceptable nowadays in the publishing world unless you are a celebrity in a particular church. Overall, this was a most engaging and satisfying read, and, truthfully, the best recommendation I can give 'A Train to Potevka' is the fact that I am passing it on to a dear friend whom I know will enjoy it just as much as I. A wonderful achievement.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2011

    Highly recommended

    This book would be perfect for a book club. Amanda choose this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2010


    Captivating book! I have always been intrigued with the Russian people and American secret services, and this book includes both.
    The story begins with our main character, Mike Ramsdell, in the middle of Russia on a mission from the US government to bring in a member of the Mafia because of the illegal work that he's doing. After Mike's mission is compromised he then takes the long journey of reaching the safe house for the US embassy in the city called Potevka. This book captures the epic adventure of how Mike Ramsdell was able to escape the danger of the mafia through several days of travel on the Russian railroad.
    One of the most exciting parts in this book is the encounter that Mike Ramsdell has with the Russian Mafia, left in a closed off apartment with no weapon to fend with. Ramsdell describes part of the experience in this quote, "At the moment the man pushed open the door, I lunged out and hit him as hard as I could with my right forearm to his head. Together we fell out into the stairwell with me landing on top of him. Frantic, violent blows were exchanged as we rolled and grappled on the landing. It was like fighting a wild, raging beast."
    I think the best part of this book is the description of the Russian people. I lived in Russia for about two years and the comparison between the mentalities today and then (as described by Mike Ramsdell) are very accurate and brings several memories back to me about the Russian people.
    The only weakness that comes to my mind is that this is the first book that Mike Ramsdell has written, and I think that for that reason the climax of the book comes a lot sooner than expected and is a little out of the ordinary for a standard adventure book. There is a lot more than your stereotypical spy thriller, for example, Mike Ramsdell talks about how he became a spy and how he found his wife that he is with today. Although it's unexpected that there is a love story, it really doesn't distract at all, and actually gives more insight to who Mike Ramsdell is.
    Overall this book is fantastic! My rating on a book depends on how much I want to read it when I start, and in this case, I couldn't put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2010


    The story started out well but soon slipped into the boring. It took the author way to long to connect the exciting fiction to his own story. I did find the information on Russia and the conditions that the people lived in interesting. The book was easily read, but dull.

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  • Posted February 7, 2010

    A Train to Potevka

    A Train to Potevka is a riveting and adventurous "true-fiction" adventure. It takes you alongside an American spy's, Mike Ramsdell, journey that takes place mostly on a train traveling along Russia's Trans-Siberian Railway. Traveling after a failed mission, Mike's trip takes an unexpected twist after receiving a mysterious box. Mike must face such elements as the KGB, the Russian mafia, and the trials of a communist government. Not only is this action packed novel filled with adventure, but also with insightful description of the living conditions of the Russian people during the beginning of the fall of communism. Overall, A Train to Potevka is an excellent read for people who are looking for a suspenseful and action-filled ride told by Mike Ramsdell.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I read the book in one day! Easy read, suspenseful, couldn't put it down.

    The book was written well, it made for an easy read. Once I started reading it was unable to do anything else. I had to keep reading to find out what happened.

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    Good first novel

    Ramsdell has an excellent story-telling ability. This book is fast-paced and gives an unusual look inside Russia from a retired CIA agent - the real kind. His personal challenges are moving and powerful. The added spirituality is a surprise. I couldn't stop reading this book and finished it quickly. I need another book by this author!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2008

    Great Book

    I was very pleased with this book. I was one of the only books that I would read again and again. The history and the lifestyle he had in Russia is very interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2008

    A Book Club Winner

    A Train to Potevka was a book club slection. Just a few pages into the tale I blessed the woman who recommended it. I found the story captivating and exciting. I wanted to beat up on someone for placing our hero in such a precarious position, and I cheered each of his triumphs in dealing with the situation. I laughed, and I cried, and I chewed my nails. The tale includes a bit of mystery, some adventure, and a sweet romance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2008

    A Novel Worth Sharing

    This book was highly recommended by several friends. I couldn't find it at the used bookstore so ordered it on-line from Barnes & Noble. I was curious by the other review stating that Ramsdell did too much proselytizing. After reading the book I feel he was 'off the mark'. To proselyte means 'to convert to a new religion'. That was not Ramsdell's intent. His family, background and church made he who he was and was intrustmental in how he responded to life. It was refreshing to hear a 'spy' refer to a higher power and taking comfort in his spiritual affirmations. The story was rivoting and very enjoyable. Any 'sloppiness' wasn't apparent to me nor curb my enjoyment.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2007

    A reviewer

    As a former Russian language major who has spent several months living and working in Russia, and who has adopted a little girl from Siberia, I found this book to be interesting but filled with grammatical errors and editorial sloppiness. The underlying story was fascinating, but I was distracted when the author spend several chapters writing about his childhood, his mother and his faith, ad nauseum. While a bit of background material might have been of some interest in setting the stage for the story and how he came to be where he was, there was far too much proselytizing about his faith. Still, I found the book enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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