REVIEWS & REACTION

  • "A storyteller with a human touch"

    “In this picaresque story of adventure, David Greene reaches beyond Putin’s Kremlin across Siberia to show us Russian life in the Raw—the gritty stoicism, surprising warmth and generosity, black humor, and resilience of the narod, the average people. A storyteller with a human touch, Greene finds Russians tested by tragedy and war as he joins them in their cramped apartments, jammed trains, and gulping beer and pickled horse sausage in their steam baths, facing an uncertain future with an unexpected streak of inner wildness. His Russians are stolidly patriotic and, even now, drawn mostly to strong leaders, resigned to tough justice and preferring stability and harsh rule to the chaotic uncertainties of democracy, their personal lives ‘full of poetry, pain, and laughter.’” — Hedrick Smith, author of The Russians and Who Stole the American Dream
  • "A first-rate tale"

    “Greene is a great storyteller, and what a story he has to tell. A fascinating and thought-provoking journey deep into Russia’s physical vastness and soul. Greene’s landscape is inhabited by a cast of characters that light up both and would have made Anton Chekhov proud. A first-rate tale that puts you aboard the Trans-Siberian Railroad on the journey of a lifetime.” — Aaron David Miller, distinguished scholar, Wilson Center, and author of The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President
  • "Glowing in its profound affection for the Russian people"

    "Greene, who’s still with NPR as a host with Morning Edition, debuts with a journey that is personal and emotional, both actual and metaphorical... He begins by explaining his history with Russia: He and his significant other, Rose, moved there in 2009; the inability to speak or understand Russian remained an issue for both of them—but one they were able to surmount with the aid of Sergei, a translator who became one of the author’s best friends. During his journey of thousands of miles (Rose was with him only temporarily), Greene tells us about the hassles of traveling (security agents shadowing them), the explicit and tacit rules for behavior on trains, the charms of traveling third class (as circumstance occasionally forced them to do), and the people they encountered—both on the train and in the communities where they stopped... Glowing in its profound affection for the Russian people, an affection Greene convinces readers to share." - Kirkus