A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine: Adventures & Misadventures Living among the Nativesby Walter Parchomenko, Vikki Chu, Guy Parkhomenko
A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine is a painfully funny collection of travel nightmares; country and culture shocks experienced by an American living and working among the natives over the past 20 years. It offers practical tips on how to cope with: Sexy young women who view foreign men as potential ATM machines and transportation out of their closed countries; herds… See more details below
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A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine is a painfully funny collection of travel nightmares; country and culture shocks experienced by an American living and working among the natives over the past 20 years. It offers practical tips on how to cope with: Sexy young women who view foreign men as potential ATM machines and transportation out of their closed countries; herds of stampeding Slavs on city streets, in metro areas and supermarkets; angry motorists who stop for pedestrians at crosswalks only because they are bumpier than potholes; packs of howling stray dogs who don’t understand English and Slavic attack pigeons.
A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine also takes readers by the hand and allows them to experience the agony of entering a collapsing post-Soviet medical systemand interacting with Kafkaesque bureaucracies. And it provides foreign men, who seek Slavic brides, priceless advice that can save them from bankruptcy, jail and even confinement in a psychiatric hospital.
The result is a book that weaves comic misadventures without trivializing serious issues, including AIDS, rampant corruption and ecocide; shatters many prevailing stereotypes about Slavic men and women; and clears up numerous culturally based misunderstandings Americans typically have of Russians and Ukrainians.
Seinfeldian humor. Like the very popular TV series Seinfeld, this is fundamentally a book “about nothing”: the banal but often fascinating events that make up our human existence. Chapters titled Slavic Attack Pigeons, Fornicating Flies, Howling Stray Dogs and Mayo Heaven are just a few illustrations. A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine fully agrees with H.L. Mencken who aptly observed: “The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore. It is not so much a war as an endless standing in line.”
A Weak American in Russia & Ukraine is bound to be a source of hearty laughter for aching souls and an essential guide to help Americans and other foreigners cope with, and even enjoy, the challenges of daily life in Russia and Ukraine; and understand the many harsh post-Soviet political, economic, social and environmental realities in these countries. 59 chapters with 60 original illustrations.
- AWeakAm Books
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- Barnes & Noble
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- 8 MB
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Interesting, funny and informative book. I think it may explain the driving and queing behaviour of an area I lived in with a large slavic immigrant population. Drove me nuts
This is a bomb of a book, a chain of petty whines and groans about living abroad. Dr. Parchomenko starts by referencing his family’s Ukrainian origins as his motivation for exploring Ukraine (and Russia). Very respectable. But for the remainder he holds all the people of these countries at arm’s length, referring to them collectively as “Slavs.” Only occasionally are his analyses of “Slavic behavior” supported by references to a particular “Slavic man” or “Slavic woman;” most without names or personal attributes. Secondly, he finds no joy. He feels offended by cashiers who sit instead of stand; put-off by the prospect of using his legs to get anywhere; disgusted by common city fauna such as pigeons and strays; and above all: he considers himself a martyr for having abandoned his comfortable couch in America. I’ve lived in Kyiv for 8 months (not nearly his 20 years, which he mentioned no shortage of times), and I can testify that the sun shines here as anywhere else, and Kyivans do find ample opportunities to enjoy this place. The point of traveling long-term is to cultivate appreciation for at least some of the differences, and this author utterly failed to do that. If you want the travelogue of a man who wishes he’d never left home, this is the one. Otherwise, find another read.
I bought this book not as a travel guide but as an introduction to the people of Russia and Ukraine. I know a lot of Russians and think this book is pretty close and my Russian friends haven't challenged anything therein. Thus I rate it well. Style is everything when you are going to sit down and read something this exact. The opportunity for a boring book to be written is easy However this book is engaging and often funny. But it also stays on track and delivers nicely. Overall I rate this book very well.
Much more than dark travel humor and culture shock. It's also an eye-opening, easy to read, and authoritative account of the harsh realities expats can expect in Russia and Ukraine.
I absolutely love this book and highly reccommend it! The stories in it are very down to earth, and based off of real life experiences. I continue to go back and read this book when I need a good laugh.