Pictured above: Ms. Deena Stryker and her latest book, Russia’s Americans.
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T his is the third book I’ve read, written by Ms. Deena Stryker. The others are Lunch with Fellini, Dinner with Fidel, (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2014/01/19/lunch-with-fellini-dinner-with-fidel-by-deena-stryker-2013-amazon-a-book-review/), and A Taoist Politics: The Case for Sacredness (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2016/08/27/book-review-a-taoist-politics-the-case-for-sacredness-by-deena-stryker/).
Russia’s Americans, (2018, Amazon, https://www.amazon.com/Russias-Americans-Deena-Stryker/dp/1984197126) is based on Ms. Stryker’s recent travels to Russia and her meeting and interviewing several Westerners, who have established their lives there. Interspersed are historical vignettes concerning Russia’s own history and its relations with the West, going back centuries.
An early theme in the book is the Wolfowitz Doctrine, a part of the now infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which advocates total US hegemony on every continent, known as full spectrum dominance. Ms. Stryker points out how the original Wolfowitz Doctrine was so extreme and in-your-face, that a “kinder, gentler” version replaced the former, but the extreme intentions and ambitions never changed, including those against Russia.
Another early theme is Pastor John Winthrop’s 17th century “city on a hill” motif. Mr. Winthrop and his merry band of genocidal settlers gleefully exterminated every Native American they came in contact with, in what was now being called New England, Massachusetts. Again, this early Orwellian Western propaganda fits in nicely with what we see in the headlines of today’s mainstream media, concerning Russia.
These themes are fleshed out with Ms. Stryker quoting extensively from several mainstream articles, exposing Western empire’s hypocritical and self-serving Big Lie propaganda machine, with a focus on Russia.
Besides lots of discussion on Russia in general, other topics include Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Ukraine, NATO’s expansion up to Russia’s borders, the USSR, RT, Sir Halford Mackinder’s Heartland Theory on Asia as the World Island, uber-commie-hating cold warrior Zbigniew Brzezinski, the EU, Visegrad Four, Ms. Stryker’s hopes for an independent Europe that is not under the US’s total domination, postwar American imperialism, BRICS, China’s New Silk Roads (BRI) and its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
These are all well-covered, but what I really enjoyed were comments by Westerners living and working in Russia, whom Ms. Stryker met. Testimonials are powerful expository literary devices, as Studs Turkel and Howard Zinn could attest to, in their writings. Hearing what people have to say who have lived through an event, or are experiencing a place, is very meaningful because they are up close and concrete. They afford the reader a fly-on-the-wall perspective and an augmented, vicarious reality. Ms. Stryker’s interviewees talk very matter-of-factly about life in 21st century Russia, the ups and downs, the good and the great, the bad and the ugly; how they got there and why they are staying. That is my only regret for Russia’s Americans, is that there are not more of these personal testimonials. I could have read many more of them.
Ms. Stryker’s Russia’s Americans is an expansive, informative book that captures the zeitgeist of Russia in the modern world. For those who are looking to learn more about this amazing country, as well as the aforementioned topics covered in the book, it is well worth reading.
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