The Torn Childhood

Mikhail Zlotin


Mikhail Zlotin details Soviet life in living color, describing a pre-war world in a Belarusian town brought to life though lively portraits of his grandfather and grandmother. Zlotin’s memoirs touch upon more private issues: his work on the railway, research projects, lectures, and being in Irkutsk among Russian Siberians.

Mikhail Zlotin opens this book with an epigraph: “Memories are the only paradise from which we cannot be expelled.” His paradise, however, is not at all heavenly.

Raised during wartime, Zlotin endured an impoverished youth, homelessness, anti-Semitism and the many other hardships of Soviet life.

Despite this, Zlotin’s memoir presents an endless sense of gratitude to all the wonderful people he met along the way. He remembers them fondly, with love and respect, and makes the reader feel that the world is not without good people.

448 pages