I thought I knew enough just from the stories from my relatives who were born in Russia and Ukraine. Those stories made me wonder how common these experiences were and how much exaggeration was added into the family stories.
Then, I discovered that these stories weren’t exaggerations nor uncommon by moving away from technology and onto books.
So what is really worth the time and knowledge? Here’s the books I’ve refused to donate nor sell. (And yes, many of these books are available on Kindle.)
World War II (or the Great Patriotic War):
Perception of Americans:
Collapse of the Soviet Union:
So what’s the point of reading these books? It will give a new understanding why it takes lots of charm to get information from archives, why former USSR-born relatives don’t like talking about the past nor know much about their relatives in the homeland, and why anyone with records saved from the former USSR should feel lucky.
Also, the best part of reading these books is learning how not to put foot in mouth when interacting with potential relatives from the former Soviet Union.