Behind the Red Veil

An American Inside Gorbachev’s Russia

Non-Fiction - Memoir
232 Pages
Reviewed on 09/29/2020
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Author Biography

FRANK THOMS : After forty years as a teacher and twelve as a
consultant and keynote speaker, Frank Thoms became a writer,
publishing four books: Teaching from the Middle of the Room:
Inviting Students to Learn with Stetson Press, (2010), and three
books with Rowman & Littlefield, Teaching That Matters:
Engaging Minds, Improving School s (2015); Exciting Classrooms:
Practical Information to Ensure Student Succes s ( 2015); and
Listening is Learning: Conversations between 20th and 21st
Century Teachers (2019).

He spent the majority of his teaching career with eighth graders in public and private schools in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. He coached soccer and hockey, directed an educational consortium, had his own darkroom, wrote op-eds, led bike tours, rebuilt his VW engine, played volleyball and softball, and served as an educational consultant.

For the past nine years, he has lived with his wife in San Miguel
de Allende, Mexico, where he continues to write, joined a philosophy group, mentors university students, and is a member of a book group. He is also on the faculty of the San Miguel Writers’ Conference and Literary Festival and serves as its Ambassador-at-Large.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

Behind the Red Veil: An American Inside Gorbachev's Russia by Frank Thoms gives glimpses of the author's travels to the Soviet Union and the other layer that exists there which he terms 'the red veil' - the face of Communism that Russia projects to the world at large, including its own citizens. The author speaks about his intentions of trying to blend in with the Russians and their culture and become an American with them instead of trying to bring America to them. This memoir is a fascinating account of his journey and is all about love, acceptance, understanding, confidence, trust, and self-discovery. Communism is synonymous with red and red is an integral part of Russia; it is incorporated into almost anything.

This cultural memoir uncovers the spirit of Russia and captures Frank Thoms's interactions with Russians, mostly through teaching in schools, and highlights their society, their customs, hopes, fears, revelations, heart, and spirit. The insights shared are fascinating and interesting and give readers a very unique perspective on Russia that existed earlier and after Gorbachev's resignation. The narration in Behind the Red Veil is beautiful and the memoir leaves a lasting impression of the Soviet Union and its people, and how in the process of reaching out to the Russian people, the author got to know himself in the process. I personally felt spiritual undertones in the author's words and his journey of trying to connect with the Russians, their collective mindset, and living in Gorbachev's Russia.