Summary and Info
What an account. Sevander's father was among the leaders of a movement of idealistic Finnish-Americans (from the US and Canada) committed to creating a socialist community in Soviet Karelia. Instead, he and hundreds of others fell victim to Stalin's ruthless paranoia in the purges of the late 1930s.
Sevander spent part of her childhood in a gulag before finding her place in Soviet society in World War II. The final irony (actually, it opens the book): During the Glasnost era, the onetime Karelian pioneer town of Petrozavodsk establishes a sister-city relationship with Duluth, Minn., twin city to Sevander's childhood hometown of Superior, Wis. When Duluth sends a citizen's delegation, she's at the railway station to welcome her onetime neighbors.
I read no particular propaganda here, just a first-person recitation of empirical fact. In fact, Sevander concludes by reaffirming her socialism, even after returning to the United States to live out her final days.
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