The Education of a Traitor: A Memoir of Growing Up in Cold War Russia

The Education of a Traitor: A Memoir of Growing Up in Cold War Russia

by Svetlana Grobman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780692312285
Publisher: Musings Publishing
Publication date: 03/15/2015
Pages: 308
Sales rank: 1,111,997
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.65(d)

About the Author

Svetlana Grobman is a Jewish immigrant from Russia who was born in Moscow in 1951. She moved to the United States in 1990. While living in Russia, Svetlana was an engineer and an editor for the Soviet Encyclopedia. Now, she is a librarian and freelance writer living in Columbia, Missouri.

Svetlana has published articles and personal stories in a variety of places, including the Christian Science Monitor, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Rural Missouri, Library Journal, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. The Education of a Traitor is Svetlana's first book, and she is currently working on her second.

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The Education of a Traitor: A Memoir of Growing Up in Cold War Russia 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Electra6 More than 1 year ago
 I thoroughly enjoyed this book which is engaging and heartfelt.  I grew up in the United States as a woman of color around the same time as the author grew up in Russia. So, it was intriguing to examine the prejudice and discrimination that she experience compared to mine.  I look forward to her next book.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Dianna Skowera for Readers' Favorite The Education of a Traitor: A Memoir of Growing Up in Cold War Russia by Svetlana Grobman is a story of survival, secrets, and the struggle for sanity and understanding in a society that rejected even the basic simplicities of livelihood – Cold War Russia. A decade after World War II, this story is told with perfect clarity through the perspective of a confused little girl who struggles through prejudice, poverty, and secrecy.  Young Sveta wants to understand her place in her world, her parents, a rigid education system, bullying at every turn, and a faith that is scorned by all of society around her – yet in a world where no one dares ask or answer questions, she is left to flounder through tumultuous situations and essentially fend for herself in attaining her perspectives. From start to finish, Sveta takes you with her on her harrowing journey of a childhood that demands the type of courage vested in gladiators. Each chapter is a story in itself that leaves the reader with a somber bulk of wisdom and emotions the soul didn’t know it could possess.    Grobman unforgivingly and bravely takes you back in time and allows an up-close and personal view of life behind the Iron Curtain. The Education of a Traitor is a must-read for the abundance of historical significance packed into its pages. Grobman doesn’t tout Jewish sentiment, but rather earnestly opens one's eyes to horrors that resonated well beyond World War II, contrasting with the view the entire West was led to believe. This book shows how the power of a government can keep its citizens ignorant and held hostage, while turning entire nations against each other. This story turned my stomach, made me laugh out loud, and broke my heart, sometimes all in the same chapter. The Education of a Traitor is akin to a Russian Anne Frank, told by a child with the charisma of Calvin and Hobbes. Grobman beautifully captures the childhood psyche in this touching story of family, the uncertainties of youth, and life in a forgotten, cloistered society. Sveta, you are not a traitor – you are a survivor and I want to hug you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the book by Svetlana Grobman The Education of a Trator. I would say that is a great book. While reading it clearly rememberd what had happened to me in my childhood groing up as a jewish girl. I also, like Svetlana, grew up in Moscow and felt that anti-semitism almost everywhere. Like her I took a decition to leave the Soviet Union for good. I would also add that it is a very educational book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grobman is a gifted story-teller, and "The Education of a Traitor" reads like a collection of short stories, in the tradition of Chekhov or James Joyce's "Dubliners." At this basic story-telling level, "Education of a Traitor" is an often touching, sometimes humorous, account of a sensitive girl growing up in trying circumstances. But her personal story also has broader historical significance. Grobman did not suffer the horrendous treatment of Soviet-era dissidents and refuseniks: she was not tortured; she did not go to prison. But she did experience the cramped living quarters, the chronic shortages, the endemic antisemitism, and the political repression of Cold War Russia. So, just as James Joyce's "Dubliners" illustrated "the paralysis of a city," "Education of a Traitor" illustrates the paralysis of the Soviet empire during its declining years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Svetlana Grobman’s stories about growing up in the Soviet Union and navigating a world of bullies, food lines, institutional racism, and close quarters with near strangers. Even though this subject matter seems potentially devastating, Grobman’s light touch and lovely writing bring an effervescence to her recollections. The events of the chapters don’t lead directly into each other, but the aggregate effect is one of complete immersion. You can imagine Grobman practicing piano (or avoiding it) in a crowded room, and you feel her acute disappointment at missing out on a box of chocolates. Her life started across the world in a social environment that was seemingly different from mine, but this coming of age tale is universal.
D_Donovan More than 1 year ago
The Education of a Traitor: A Memoir of Growing Up in Cold War Russia comes from a Russian Jewish immigrant to the U.S. who was born in Russia in 1951 and moved to America in 1990. It covers the period between these years, when she was an engineer and editor for the Soviet Encyclopedia, and intersperses the life lessons she gained from her family and culture with insights into cold war Russian society and sentiments. Too many memoirs focus on the physical realities of escaping from one's world. Under such an approach it would have been all too easy for The Education of a Traitor to, itself, have become a linear memoir of a flight to a new life. But true freedom involves more than physical distance or escape: it's a vast adjustment that involves confronting and changing one's framework for perceiving reality itself; and it's here that this autobiography shines. True, the USSR the author describes no longer exists. But that doesn't mean that the influence and specter of its operations don't remain active in the world, both in Grobman's life and in the wider arena of understanding social and political systems and their impact on ordinary lives. And as much as the author's memories are now frozen in the past, they also continue to hold perspective, insight, and influence on the future of both the reader (whether in the motherland or abroad) and the author.  After all - isn't that why autobiography remains an effective genre for describing not just individual lives and experiences, but wider questions of social and political evolution and even survival and freedom itself? Without truly understanding influence, motivation, perspective, and the effects of political systems on young hearts and minds, it's not possible to perceive the real threats to freedom in the world. And thus The Education of a Traitor may be read on several different levels: either as a coming-of-age autobiography, or as a wider-ranging portrait of personal survival and growth. Either way, it's not about becoming a patriot and dying. It's about becoming free to live a full life. Exactly how this is achieved is the meat of a hard-hitting and involving story that delivers vignettes of change and survival using a powerful voice and a personal perspective that's hard to put down.