This book provides a view of life in the former Soviet Union from the perspective of somebody who could not accept the dehumanization that was required to exist day-to-day. The countless examples of soul-crushing oppression by the ruling class are shocking and heart breaking, and the heroic struggle to not accede by the author is remarkable. This book is a real eye opener and will make you think, as well as educate, and in some ways portend what may be on the horizon when any society reaches a certain tipping point. It is remarkable to read about the Soviet constitution, with its copious guarantees and promises, and without any respect for the rule of law and the full acceptance of rule by capricious men, in the end it meant absolutely nothing for the citizens and their sorry existence. The examples and tales of his travels in the book are fascinating, as well as entertaining.
One of the greatest books I have ever read. It is a riveting autobiographical story about a young man, Vladimir Bukovsky, who was sent to a prison camp for twelve years for writing and publically performing poetry that satirised the Soviet regieme, and for other activities as a dissenter. Bukovsky writes with brilliance and humanity and the really outstanding feature of the book is his remarkable sense of humour. Bukovsky was eventually released in a swap for the Chilian communist leader Louis Convanian. He then studied biology at the University of Cambridge, UK and is now a neurologist and human rights campaigner. Bukovsy's portaits of individuals are colourful and the story is full of action.
This is a fascinating account of a fascinating man who lived in those terrible times that we all like to hope have passed. Of course they haven't, and this book is a reminder to be wary, but hopeful for any man who can survive such things and build a life.
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