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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.