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Lost and Found in Russia: Encounters in a Deep Heartland Hardcover – 13 May 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: I B Tauris & Co Ltd; 1st Edition edition (13 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848850239
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848850231
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 2.9 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 516,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'A work of great thoughtfulness and enterprise, it sheds a uniquely intimate light behind the facade of the new Russia.' --Colin Thubron

'Susan Richards has long been one of the very best writers on Russia. Her new book is a remarkable blend of travel and reflection, as she introduces us to the vivid gallery of people she meets in the provinces. The result is a brilliant, poignant evocation of a society in transition.' --Robert Service

'A uniquely personal chronicle, and a testament to friendship. Susan Richards's political fact-finding is set ablaze by her intimacy with the discomforts and dangers of life in these remote regions, where the magic of the natural world challenges urban degradation, and where physical deprivation coexists with a richness of belief-systems as strange as the mountains of the moon.' --Victoria Glendinning

About the Author

Susan Richards is the author of Epics of Everyday Life, which won the P.E.N. Time-Life Award for Non-Fiction and the Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award in 1990. She edits open Democracy Russia, part of open Democracy, the website about global affairs which she co-founded. After her doctorate on Alexander Solzhenitsyn from St Antony's College, Oxford University, she initiated the programme of talks, conferences and debates at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts and worked as a film producer. With her husband, the television producer Roger Graef, she started Bookaid, a charity which sent a million English language books to public libraries throughout the Soviet Union.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jim VINE VOICE on 10 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lost and Found in Russia uses the stories of everyday Russians to tell the story of Russia since the fall of communism in the 1990s. It draws on the experiences of Susan Richards, an experienced and accomplished journalist in the country, and paints a dismal picture of the fates of Russians since the shackles of the old regime fell.

The book's main flaw is the lack of central narrative or sense of context. Richards tells us nothing of herself or what she's doing in Russia - yet her career as a journalist and charity founder is a remarkable one. There is an assumption that the reader will be familiar with her work, particularly an earlier book - Epics of Everyday Life.

This is a curious anomaly and the result is that as a reader I cared nothing for her. Her characterization is also weak and I found it difficult to empathize with her associates - many, such as Anna, who are otherwise fascinating - whom she uses to illustrate the story of Russia's people. As a book it lacks purpose, seeming like a string of chronologically listed anecdotes. There are also some glaring errors (such as her recounting watching Portugal beat France in the 2006 World Cup semi final) that diminish its credibility further.

This isn't to say that Lost and Found in Russia is entirely without merit. Some of the stories are moving, strange, fascinating - as witness Richards' encounters with Old Believers or Russian scientists. Had she been more selective and used them in a manner reminiscent of Wendell Stevenson's magnificent `Stories I Stole' (covering similar themes in post-communist Georgia) it would have been a far better work. As they stand they just don't stack up to build a cohesive book. Instead Lost and Found in Russia seems like an unwieldy piece of magazine journalism and is ultimately an unsatisfactory experience.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Philip Dawes on 29 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover
A friend phoned me last evening about Susan Richards, and her book ‘Lost & Found in Russia.’ I then did an Internet search and read an article about her and watched her YouTube video presentation: Lost and Found in Russia- Lives in a Post-Soviet Landscape - .

I was unimpressed by her appalling lecture style; her message was typical Western Putin-bashing!

So many Western vultures descended upon Russia after the collapse of the USSR, establishing businesses and various Western organisations for ulterior purposes; Susan Richards was one of them. This was proven by her creation of the organisation Open Democracy.

Honest journalists do not establish political organisations. Period!

Many similar organisations were created by subversive Western infiltrators during that period in Russia, whose sole objective was undermining the system to create chaos, followed by full-blown financial takeover, as they have done in so many countries worldwide.

Two key statements by Susan Richards, proves that she is part of the West's sinister objectives in Russia, saying, “…the Russian people have lost all hope and are not capable of helping themselves…” And the last sentence of her talk was the ultimate proof of her duplicity: "Only the elite can resolve Russia's problems."

In contrast to Richards’ negative propaganda about Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev, creator of Glasnost, recently stated that Putin saved Russia from disintegration.

The world has had enough of the chaos and destruction created by Western subversive infiltrators disguised as charities or other ‘help’ organisations. I would not read Richards book, even if it was given to me.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Russiawatcher on 27 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
Susan Richards has travelled into a Russia far beyond the territory of either diplomats or journalists. She has pieced together the whole anguish of the last two decades in the most anguished society of Europe. You take history out of the book but it is living people that she has put into it. It has taken sixteen years of visiting and revisiting the same people across a huge landmass as their lives have been rendered incomprehensible even to themselves in the turmoil of the times through which they have lived. Yes, it reads like a novel, but because it gets beneath the skin of history.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Crocker on 17 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating and moving account of a Russia unknown to the wider world. Russia is homogenous in some ways such as its language, education, architecture, infrastructure, politics and state control but extremely heterogenous in its immense social diversity. Social groups as different as super-rich oligarchs, globally aware Moscovites, well educated business executive elites, intellectual dissidents, conformist city dwelling families, isolated provincial city populations, party loving Caucasians, feudal Moslem believers, and the rural poor can all be found within its borders. Susan Richards travels to Russia's extreme reaches and documents the personal and social life she finds there. Her book includes a useful timeline of major events shaping the country from 1990 to 2008 as well as short italicised interludes to her chapters succinctly explaining the context of developments in national life. What is missing and would be useful is a timeline of her own journeys to show the exact timing, duration and therefore context of her visits which cover some 16 years.

Richards' friends are Russia's far flung displaced intelligentsia. They are therefore not typical of the broader population but are certainly a distinct social type.
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