Down the Volga: A Journey Through Mother Russia in a Time of Troubles

Down the Volga: A Journey Through Mother Russia in a Time of Troubles

by Marq de Villiers

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An air of melancholy, of wrenching wistfulness informs Toronto journalist de Villiers's account of his circuitous rambles on Matushka Volga , ``little Mother Volga which is Russia itself,'' during the summer of 1990. Although he has a knack for making certain unpleasant experiences seem like a lark, this is a serious-minded, probing, knowledgeable report on heartland Russia today, also on many yesterdays ago as the author relates tales going back to the Huns and Tartars, plus more recent history, to the Cossacks, the Revolution, WW II. Alternately traveling alone, with tourists on a Russian cruise ship, in the company of five Soviet journalists from Moscow--not an especially compatible crew--on a creaky vessel which looked like a decommissioned military craft, de Villiers was intrepid. The Russian-speaking journalist visited villages for which he had no visa and hung around factories, collective farms, the riverfront, the streets: chatting, questioning, listening. He discerned widespread nostalgia for a noble dream corrupted, then abandoned, and found racism and ethnic anger ``everywhere,'' pessimism ``everywhere.'' It was a dispiriting 3500 kilometers. (Jan.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
During the summer of 1990, Canadian journalist de Villiers made a 2000-mile journey by boat down the Volga River in order to visit places not generally accessible to foreigners. In this travelog, he explains that ``the centralized system has produced places that are virtually interchangeable in their banality.'' Everywhere there are endless lines, stifling regulations, food and housing shortages, alcoholism, and a general ugliness. The Russians he meets display an achingly similar sense of resignation and despair. Ironically, there are some hints that an upheaval may soon occur. In an uneven style, de Villiers interweaves interesting personal observations with repetitive condemnations of the Communist system and tedious history lessons. With so much attention currently focused on the Soviet Union this may be of some interest, but it is not an essential purchase.-- Ilse Heidmann Ali, formerly with Motlow State Community Coll., Tullahoma, Tenn.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st American ed
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

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