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Dancing Under the Red Star: The…

Dancing Under the Red Star: The Extraordinary Story of Margaret Werner,…

by Karl Tobien

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One of the best & most compelling books I've ever read. ( )
  emmyson | Oct 9, 2013 |
Margaret Werner moved from Detroit, MI to Gorky, USSR in 1932, when she was 10 years old. Her father, Carl, worked for Ford and chose to leave the uncertain job environment of the Depression era and take a job in the Soviet Union, helping them develop their auto industry. Unfortunately, they were unaware of the real situation in the USSR, what life would be like under Stalin. Carl was eventually arrested as an enemy of the state and died in prison. Margaret and her mother had no information about Carl's imprisonment or death for years. All they knew was that he had been arrested, and that they were unable to leave the country. Margaret was strong and refused to denounce her father even when asked by her school leaders. During WWII, they barely survived. As a result of making friends with a couple of British soldiers who were stationed in their town at the end of the war, Margaret was eventually arrested and charged as an enemy of the state. She served 10 years in a Siberian work camp under very harsh conditions. After the death of Stalin, Margaret and her mother finally were able to leave the USSR. They had been there for twenty-nine years. She is possibly the only American woman known to survive Stalin's Gulag.
Although the writing is not the best, the story is very compelling.
  nittnut | Aug 23, 2012 |
Although it cannot compare to Dostoyevsky's House of the Dead, it is still well worth reading. Too little has been written about the atrocities of Stalin's reign. This is the true story of one woman's trials to survive, & eventually return to her own country [the U.S]. Despite what she did have to suffer, it does seem as if she had a guardian looking after her. This is especially evident in the pickpocket's confession to her. When seeing her again in the camps, he admits that at the time she had witnessed his crime [years before] he had wanted to cut her as he had other witnesses before her, but for some reason he could not move the arm that would have allowed her to do so.
The last chapter, entitled "Challenge to the Reader" is especially moving...or maybe I just find it so because it expresses what I wish I could shout from the rooftops & make everyone understand. ( )
1 vote TheCelticSelkie | Jan 29, 2007 |
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Chronicles the life of Margaret Werner, focusing on the years she spent living in Russia with her family under brutal dictator Joseph Stalin.

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