BOOMERBROADcast

Enjoy, laugh, rage, disagree or simply empathize with those who lived life in THE sixties and are now rockin' life in THEIR sixties+.

Breaking the rules in Russia could be fatal

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If you have a few hours, I'd be happy to share titles of my favourite books.

If you have a few hours, I’d be happy to share titles of my favourite books. Or you can check the “Book Reviews” tab at the top of my blog posting.

Recommendations for good reading often come from unexpected sources. A few years ago I went to a bookstore for an evening of discussion about Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, a book I hated and found trite but was curious to see why it appealed to other people. Only two people turned up—me and one other lady. Even the speaker was AWOL. The evening was salvaged however when the other attendee and I had a cup of tea together and traded titles of great books we’d enjoyed recently. She wanted the names of some Canadian authors, which I was happy to provide, and one of the books she recommended to me was Wild Swans by Jung Chang which I absolutely loved. It’s the story of three generations of women living three very different lives in twentieth century China.

A couple of weeks ago while sitting with foils on my hair at the hairdresser, the lady in the next chair started chatting to me about books and before you could say, “have you read?. . .” we were madly exchanging titles. When I mentioned I like historical fiction and really enjoy stories about Russia, she recommended The Charm School by Nelson DeMille. And, boy was she right. I couldn’t put it down.

charmThe story is set in 1988 Russia while the Cold War was still flourishing. An American tourist gets lost in an isolated, restricted forest area outside Moscow and is confronted by a rogue American who claims to be one of hundreds of American prisoners of war kidnapped at the end of the war in Vietnam and traded by the North Vietnamese to Russia in exchange for missiles.

The plot follows American Embassy staffers Colonel Sam Hollis, Lisa Rhodes and other agents as they attempt to verify the escapee’s story that the POWs have been imprisoned for more than two decades at a special high-security facility affectionately referred by the prisoners as Mrs. Ivanoff’s Charm School. The American captives are forced to train Soviet agents in how to become American in their speech, dress, demeanor and social habits. When the Russians are fully trained to be indistinguishable from real Americans, they are deployed to the United States as agents assigned to infiltrate and assimilate into sensitive areas of American business, the military and government where they will relay intelligence back to Moscow. This book was written pre-911 and its message is eerily prophetic.

The Charm School is fast-moving, never dull and follows the efforts of the embassy team to verify the story, locate the school and perhaps finally free the captive American POWs, who are now middle-aged. Espionage is always clouded by an overlaying lack of trust of anyone within the circle of characters. This is further complicated by the everyday difficulties associated with simply speaking, traveling, socializing or trying to work under the watchful and paranoid eye of the KGB. This book will appeal to men and women alike, and as I said, I couldn’t put it down. But, if you’re ever in Russia, don’t go off-roading.

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Author: Lynda Davis

As an early Baby Boomer, born in 1947, it seems to me that as we approach our retirement years, Boomers have gone from being the energy driving our nation to slowly becoming invisible. We risk losing our identity as society remains stubbornly youth-centric. And the irony is that Gen Xers and Ys are not the majority; we are. BOOMERBROADcast is my platform for being the voice of Baby Boomers, women in particular. We've generated a lot of changes over the decades but there's still a long way to go. After a 40-year career in the corporate world, I've taken up expressing the observations and concerns of our generation. Instead of pounding the pavement in my bellbottoms with a cardboard sign, I'm pounding my laptop (I learned to type on a manual typewriter and old habits die hard). If you have issues or concerns you would like voiced or have comments on what I've voiced, I'd love to hear from you. We started breaking the rules in the sixties and now that we're in our sixties it's no time to become complacent. Hope you'll stay tuned and if you like BOOMERBROADcast, share it with your friends. Let's rock n' roll! If you would like to be notified whenever I publish a new posting, click on the little blue box in the lower right of your screen that says +Follow→ Lynda Davis

2 thoughts on “Breaking the rules in Russia could be fatal

  1. Sounds like a book I would enjoy. Thanks Lynda.

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    • I downloaded it from the library, and loved it. Check my book list for other good books about Russia, such as The Green Tent.

      Sent from my iPad Lynda Davis Follow me at: boomerbroadcast.net

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