Dreamchaser by Yakov Rozenberg – ARC

Rate: 4/5

Medium: Kindle

Overview (No Spoilers): Over the past couple of years I’ve read several nonfiction books based on Russian history, e.g., The Romanov Sisters and Catherine the Great, as well as the historical thriller, Child 44 and the classic Anna Karenina. While Child 44 was set in the most recent time period of the aforementioned titles and at the time was the first book I’d read purely from a Russian perspective, which proved to be intriguing on several levels. As such, Dreamchaser continues my Russian reading trend in a fascinating work of nonfiction that details Rozenberg’s young adult life growing up in the Soviet Union during the mid 70s to 80s. Dreamchaser highlights Rozenberg’s conscripted time in the army, resulting in story after unbelievable story regarding the conditions, training and life within the Soviet army. After finishing almost every chapter I would find myself putting the book aside in order to process the events that had just unfolded, and to retell the story to my husband. Throughout Dreamchaser, the corruption was evident in all aspects of life within the Communist party from the army, to the work environment and judicial system. Notably Rozenberg railed against the establishment, more often than not at his own peril. There were various situations in which Rozenberg acted to do the right thing, despite the danger, leaving me pondering if I could have found the backbone to break against universal conformity and instincts of self preservation if I’d found myself in his shoes. Alas, I hate to admit that upon lengthy self-reflection, I’m likely such a rule follower to my core that when at Rozenberg’s age at the time of the stories, I don’t know if I could have made myself stand against the crowd, even if it was the moral thing to do. His adventures continued beyond the army to the workplace where we are given a first hand glimpse into the environment of factory life within the Communist government. From there, Rozenberg’s life took a scary turn as he caught the attention of the KGB, where the sheer level of power wielded by this security agency leaves the reader with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. Without giving too much away, Rozenberg’s tribulations only grow as the reader is given a first hand account of Russia’s prison system, where he describes not only his harrowing tale but the tragic stories of many other unfortunate inmates. Overall, I still find myself thinking about Dreamchaser, which contains so many unbelievable adventures and tragedies that it could easily become a TV show or movie.



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