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The Education of a Traitor

A Memoir of Growing Up in Cold War Russia

Svetlana Grobman


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Svetlana (Sveta) Grobman grew up in a communal apartment in Moscow, Russia, during the Cold War with her mother, father and younger sister. From a very young age, she found herself living in two contradictory worlds: the private world of a Jewish family struggling to live a decent life in a society rife with shortages and anti-Semitism; and the public world of an oppressive totalitarian regime that brainwashed its citizen into believing that the Soviet Union was the best country in the world. Despite being constantly bullied and insulted by playmates, neighbors, and teachers, Sveta was a dreamer. In the confinement of her cramped apartment, with a book in her hands, she dreamt about doing something significant for her country to earn its love and respect. Yet as Sveta matured and learned about the persecution of her family and the tragic deaths of her Ukrainian relatives during WWII, she realized that the world around her was built on lies and corruption, and that she needed to be strong just to survive. Composed of a series of poignant and sometimes humorous stories, The Education of a Traitor is a luminous memoir that not only describes the experience of one Jewish child coming of age in Russia at the height of the Cold War, but also helps explain why millions of people chose to leave the Soviet Union when the Iron Curtain finally fell.

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

"Each chapter functions as a stand-alone tale, depicting not only a moment in Grobman's childhood, but also an aspect of Soviet life. ... An intimate look at a young woman's struggle to find her own truth in a repressive society." --Kirkus Reviews

"This book may be read on several levels: either as a coming-of-age autobiography, or as a wider-ranging portrait of personal survival and growth. ... 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." -- Midwest Book Review

Readers Reviews:

"Poignant Stories of a Jewish Child in Cold-war Soviet Union" -- Von Pittman, Ph.D.

Svetlana Grobman has written a tantalizing memoir, relating tales from her childhood in post-World War II Russia. -- Gloria Banning, Librarian

"Poignant Stories of a Jewish Child in Cold-war Soviet Union ..." -- Laurel Youmans

Musings Publishing, 9780692312285, 308pp.

Publication Date: March 15, 2015

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.