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A family memoir that has the page-turning, storytelling qualities of Jung Chang's Wild Swans and Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, against the historical backdrop of the harrowing events covered in Anne Applebaum's Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps and The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956, by Aleksandr Isaevich SolzhenitsynFor fans of Timothy Garton-Ash's The File: A Personal History, and the 2007 film The Lives of Others Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2008
Owen Matthews was born in London and spent part of his childhood in America. He studied Modern History at Oxford University before beginning his career as a journalist in Bosnia. In 1995 he accepted a job at The Moscow Times, a daily English-language newspaper. He also freelanced for a number of publications including The Times, the Spectator and the Independent. In 1997, he became a correspondent at Newsweek magazine in Moscow where he covered the second Chechen war, as well as politics and society. Owen was also one of the first journalists to witness the start of the US bombing in the Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan, 2001, and went on to cover the invasion of Iraq, 2003. Owen is currently Newsweek magazine's bureau chief in Moscow, where he lives with his wife and two children.
'A Russian Wild Swans ... Some of the stories will stay with me forever' Sunday Times 'Heartbreaking, romantic and utterly compelling ... An astonishing personal history of love, death and betrayal' Simon Sebag Montefiore 'Gripping ... This fascinating book is not a footnote to Soviet history: it is Soviet history, one of the millions of private tales of evil and astonishing endurance that make up the awful whole' Observer 'Epic ... extraordinary ... Matthews ... seems to contain an essence of a Russia that preceded the turmoils and savage inflictions that he so richly describes in his book' Simon Callow, Guardian