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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic little gem on drunkeness, loss and the indomitable human spirit.
A real labour of love and a sad, funny and touching look into a world of hopeless drunks and vagabonds spanning a forty year period.
The life of Ivan resembles something out of a Gorky play along with all of the misfits and alcoholic philosophers he spends his days ( and sometimes just a few hours) with as he stumbles across Russia pursued by his many demons...
Published 7 months ago by dancoonan@hotmail.com

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2.0 out of 5 stars Given up
I've just read a third of this, then gave up. It is quite difficult to get hold of any narrative thread that runs throuigh it. If I put it down for a few days, I find it difficult to pick up the story, such as it is. One drinking session blends into another, and none of them are particularly interesting, and it is difficult to have any empathy for the people featured in...
Published 12 months ago by Il Papa


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic little gem on drunkeness, loss and the indomitable human spirit., 12 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Smashed in the USSR: Fear, Loathing and Vodka on the Steppes (Kindle Edition)
A real labour of love and a sad, funny and touching look into a world of hopeless drunks and vagabonds spanning a forty year period.
The life of Ivan resembles something out of a Gorky play along with all of the misfits and alcoholic philosophers he spends his days ( and sometimes just a few hours) with as he stumbles across Russia pursued by his many demons.
The dark humour sustains the reader through the endless bleakness of Ivan's life and in the end, we can only marvel at the miraculous durability of his spirit throughout times which must have been grim beyond belief. Caroline Walton does a great job of taking us into a world that most if us in the west will never have a chance to know and thankfully never have to suffer whilst being brutally honest and insightful regarding the joys and horrors of people who will literally down bottles of aftershave to keep themselves going through the day.

I read it in two days and I recommend it highly as not only an alternative history and perhaps travel book but also as a humanist's book. A book on the buoyancy and durability of one man's persistent spirit in utterly dire circumstances.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars hilarious tragic savage - not unlike Russia itself, 24 July 2013
This review is from: Smashed in the USSR: Fear, Loathing and Vodka on the Steppes (Kindle Edition)
A perfect antidote to all those dreary, rain-sodden Irish alcoholic memoirs, this account of Ivan Petrov, a rebel vagabond vagrant soak, begging, blagging and boozing his way back and forth across the former Soviet Union, is delightful. There is great, savage tragedy in here - especially as we watch the man choosing the bottle over his loved ones - but also an immense degree of humour and heart. It's also a fascinating treasure trove of detail about life in the former USSR, with its toxic industrial towns and its drying-out clinics, its corrupt cops and sleepy bureaucrats. What else can I say but Na Zdrovye! Cheers!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating account, 2 Sept. 2013
This book is a fascinating account of the life of Ivan Petrov, a tramp in the USSR. We get a real sense of what Soviet life was like for those at the bottom of the pile, and the sadness of how Petrov's lifestyle cut him off from his family. He comes across as an engaging, intelligent man, who is ble to tell us about his lifestory with humour.

I highly recommend this book-- it gave me a real sense of what the Soviet Union was like.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Given up, 14 April 2014
By 
Il Papa (Vatican City) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashed in the USSR: Fear, Loathing and Vodka on the Steppes (Kindle Edition)
I've just read a third of this, then gave up. It is quite difficult to get hold of any narrative thread that runs throuigh it. If I put it down for a few days, I find it difficult to pick up the story, such as it is. One drinking session blends into another, and none of them are particularly interesting, and it is difficult to have any empathy for the people featured in it. I wanted to read it, and wanted to like it, but in the end I couldn't do either. (Great cover though).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real Russia, 18 Jun. 2013
By 
R. Davies "Richard Davies" (France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashed in the USSR: Fear, Loathing and Vodka on the Steppes (Kindle Edition)
A riveting insight into a side of Russian life that the outside world rarely sees, written by someone who has lived in Russia and knows the country, its people and its language very well. A must for anyone who wants to understand a country that despite all that has changed there in recent years remains a mystery to most of us.
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