Thursday, February 07, 2013

Russian Family Cut Off From Modern World For 40 Years

Agafia and Karp Lykov shortly after being discovered by geologists. Photo via Smithsonian Magazine
Students using our Modern US and World History study guide will find this story to be absolutely fascinating. Smithsonian Magazine recently featured an article about a family in Russia who had gone into hiding in 1936 following oppressive purges led by the Bolsheviks. The family, the Lykovs, were Old Believers a very traditional sect of Christianity that had been persecuted since the reign of Peter the Great. Under Peter many Old Believers retreated to Siberia, living in harsh conditions but able to worship with some measure of freedom. Under the Communists the persecution took on an even more extreme form and the Lykovs retreated further into the frozen tundra of the north. When they were discovered in the 1970s they were unaware of major events like World War II and the lunar landing. 

The Lykov's home. Photo via Smithsonian Magazine
The Smithsonian Magazine article is an astounding and even heart wrenching read, and I hope you enjoy it.

For those of you interested in learning more about this turbulent time period, the world wars that allowed Stalin to take power and the consequences of this, check out these books:

Primary source documents that relate to preparation for the war, life in the trenches, postwar struggles, conflict over the Fourteen Points, and several historians' interpretations of the war.

Excepts from radio broadcasts, news accounts, photos, letters and journals. Tells the story of our troops landing on the beaches and flying bombing missions over Europe, along with words from leaders on both sides of the war.

Marrin relates the gripping story of how the Yanks "came over" to aid the European Allies and turn the tide in the first Great War. How the United States mobilized industry, trained doughboy soldiers, and promoted the war at home makes for fascinating reading in one of the few books on this topic for young adults. The human cost of the war is poignantly related in tales of the action at Chateau Thierry and Belleau Woods, in the air with the daring men of the Army Air Corps, and with the Lost Battalion at the Battle of Meuse-Argonne. From the sinking of the Lusitania to Armistice Day, Marrin tells the heartrending and inspiring story of the "war to end all wars." Illustrated with maps and photographs.

Stalin, Russia's Man of Steel by Albert Marrin
When Joseph Djugashvili was born the son of a poor shoemaker, few suspected he would rise to become one of the twentieth century's most ruthless and powerful dictators. Enamored as a young man with the revolutionary politics of Lenin, he joined the underground Marxist Party and began his pursuit of power by leading strikes and demonstrations. Six times he was exiled to Siberia for his illicit activities, escaping many times despite below freezing temperatures and on one occasion an attack by a pack of wolves. His instinctive ability to command authority and divide the opposition through lies and deceit set him on a path he would follow to become Russia's most absolute dictator. He was never reticent to shed innocent blood in the pursuit of his own ends, and he carefully orchestrated demonstrations that brought about massacres that he then used to his own revolutionary ends. His vision was far reaching, and while his initial purpose was to establish a Soviet socialist state his larger goal was world domination. Ultimately responsible for the deaths of over 30 million—13 million alone in the Ukrainian famine he caused—Stalin's life is a sober and heartbreaking account of the reign of terror suffered by countless millions at the hands of one man.

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Marie Remarque
Contemporary classic confronting the morality of war. Story of young German soldiers during WW I "on the threshold of life, facing an abyss of death..." Considered one of the greatest war stories ever written -- and one of the classics of antiwar literature -- Remarque's 1929 masterpiece tells the story of young Paul Baumer, who enlists in the German Army in World War I and takes place with his comrades in the trenches. For mature readers.

An Age of Extremes covers the time period 1880-1917. For the captains of industry men like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, J. P. Morgan, and Henry Ford the Gilded Age is a time of big money. Technology boomed with the invention of trains, telephones, electric lights, harvesters, vacuum cleaners, and more. But for millions of immigrant workers, it is a time of big struggles, with adults and children alike working 12 to 14 hours a day under extreme, dangerous conditions. The disparity between the rich and the poor was dismaying, which prompted some people to action. In An Age of Extremes, you'll meet Mother Jones, Ida Tarbell, Big Bill Haywood, Sam Gompers, and other movers and shakers, and get swept up in the enthusiasm of Teddy Roosevelt. 
You'll also watch the United States take its greatest role on the world stage since the Revolution, as it enters the bloody battlefields of Europe in World War I. Hakim's history is vivid and engaging, told in story form. Somewhat biased at times, but certainly not enough to disregard this book. Recommended for use along with the Basic History of the United States series. 

From woman's suffrage to Babe Ruth's home runs, from Louis Armstrong's jazz to Franklin Delano Roosevelt's four presidential terms, from the finale of one world war to the dramatic close of the second, War, Peace, and All That Jazz presents the story of some of the most exciting years in U.S. history. With the end of World War I, many Americans decided to live it up, going to movies, driving cars, and cheering baseball games aplenty. But alongside this post-WWI spree was high unemployment, hard times for farmers, ever-present racism, and, finally, the Depression, the worst economic disaster in U.S. history, flip-flopping the nation from prosperity to scarcity. 
Along came one of our country's greatest leaders, F.D.R., who promised a New Deal, gave Americans hope, and then saw them through the horrors and victories of World War II. These three decades-full of optimism and despair, progress and Depression, and, of course, War, Peace, and All That Jazz-forever changed the United States. All of Hakim's books are filled with an abundance of pictures, graphs, maps and a chronology of events that are all very useful. Recommended for use along with the Basic History of the United States series.

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Call for Submissions!
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