Masha Gessen's last memory of Russia was the crowd of red-eyed relatives gathered at the airport in Moscow in 1981 to wave goodbye forever to her fourteen-year-old self, her brother and her parents. Unwilling to have their children grow up bearing the weight of the same anti-Semitism that they and their parents had, Masha's mother and father were emigrating to America. But Russia was Masha's home and ten years later she returned to a changed country, and to her two grandmothers. With intelligence and humour Masha Gessen unfolds the tale of these two women: both Eastern European Jews who lived through Polish and Russian anti-Semitism, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the Stalin years and who bore unceasing intimidation and fear in very different ways but with similar courage, resourcefulness and sheer chutzpah.
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Masha Gessen is the Russian correspondent for US World and News Report. She has been a contributor to Granta and is the author of Dead Again: The Russian Intelligentsia after Communism. She lives in Moscow.