Watching Communism Fail

A Memoir of Life in the Soviet Union

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SKU: 9780786441396 Categories: ,

About the Book

In this memoir, architect Gary Berkovich describes life growing up Jewish in the Soviet Union, forced relocation to Siberia, and eventual emigration. The book covers World War II and the author’s family, as well as the war’s effects on a young teenager indoctrinated by Soviet propaganda. He recounts his education and rise as an architect, schooled in the Soviet Constructivist movement, and the concurrent evolution of his Jewish identity. Later chapters describe Siberia, an often homeless existence in 1960s Moscow, anti–Semitism, problems associated with nonconformity in the U.S.S.R., the K.G.B., and the events leading to immigration to the United States. The author’s story is recounted alongside the stories of his family members and associates.

About the Author(s)

Gary Berkovich is an architect and author of the book Capitalism is Simple, published in Moscow after the fall of the Communist regime. He lives in Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Gary Berkovich
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 314
Bibliographic Info: 101 photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4139-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5234-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Prologue      1

1. Existence
Soviets 101      5
Mother      14

2. War and Family
The Bridge      18
Tashkent      22
Nikolay and Yuzik      22
Cotton Growers      30
Turkestan      33
Uncle Yefim      39
Grandpa      43
Stepfather      46
Chimkent      51
Gena      54
Mark      61
Return      63

3. Music Years
Kharkov      67
The Monastery      68
17 Tevelev Square      71
A Woman from Music School      81
Embouchure      83
Leonid      84
The Band      86
Pianoforte Obbligato      88
Fèygin      91
Young Pioneer      93
Misha      96
Rabinovich      99

4. Trade School
The House Painter      101
Field Work      104
Izzy Fridenthal      109
Climbing      113
English      120

5. On the Way
Comrades in Arms      124
The Requital      126
Abram      133
I Am a Jew Now      135

6. Studies
The Gambit      139
Transfer      144
Group      145
Kozlov      151
Dima      152
Destinies      163
Karvovsky      165
Professors      176
Moscow Vice      183
Kòndos      187
Batàlov      188
Edith      190
The Honeymoon      194
NSE      196

7. Siberia
From Moscow to Novosibirsk      199
The Land Use Expert      204
The Bus      213
The Lodging      215
Surveyor General      217
Collective Farm Inn      220
My Circus      222
Kuz’min      228
“Six Ninths”      230
Kisin      232
My Brilliant Failure      236

8. Exodus
The Graduate      242
The Inventor      252
Moscow’s Map      255
The Map of Israel      257
Konstantìnov      263
Encountering the KGB      276
Mika      290
Tomsk      290
Berkovich Ph.D.      295
Departure      298

Index      303