In A Red Boyhood -- Growing up Under Stalin, we followed a child's perilous journey of survival through war-torn Eastern Europe, Nazi occupation and, as the son of an "enemy of the state" Soviet repression. What happened to that boy, his brave and resolute mother, and his little brother at war's end? Now, the journey continues with Anatole Konstantin's love letter to America in his new memoir, Through the Eyes of an Immigrant.
As a "displaced person", young Anatole arrives in New York in 1949 in pursuit of achieving the American Dream. Often elusive though that dream may be, we cheer as he overcomes, with humor and optimism, the obstacles and challenges of assimilation. Through his personal experience of having endured the harsh realities of living in a totalitarian state, we see mid-century world and American events through his discerning observations to gain new understanding of how Soviet propaganda ensnared a generation of American intellectuals to becoming sympathetic to the cause of Communism.
With an array of characters, Through the Eyes of an Immigrant will have you laughing, and at times, marveling at how a young man's persistence, talent, hard work, love of family ̶ and a little bit of luck ̶ can make a dream come true."
About the Author
Anatole Konstantin grew up in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union ruled by Stalin. In 1938, when Anatole was ten years old, his father was arrested by the KGB and the family never heard about him until fifty years later when Gorbachev came to power and they received a letter from the KGB saying that he had been executed and was now being posthumously rehabilitated. This was an admission that he had been innocent. Upon his father's arrest, the family became "enemies of the people" and barely survived. In 1941 when Germany attacked the Soviet Union, Anatole with his mother and little brother escaped several days before the Germans occupied their town and they became refugees in the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asia. In spite of misery and near starvation, Anatole managed to go to school, and when WW II ended, the family escaped to Poland and then to West Germany where he became a student at the Technical University of Munich. When he graduated as a Mechanical Engineer, the United States was admitting 200,000 Displaced Persons and he came to the land of his dreams. After having worked for twenty years in several companies, Anatole started an engineering consulting company which later became the PDC International Corp. that manufactures packaging machinery. His book, A RED BOYHOOD - Growing Up Under Stalin, describes life under dictatorship and escape from it. He also taught a course on The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Empire at the Lifetime Learners Institute at the Norwalk Community College.
A refugee from the Soviet Union settles in the United States and hustles to make a life there in this memoir. In 1949, after fleeing Ukraine and attending a university in Germany, Konstantin ("A Red Boyhood-Growing Up Under Stalin," 2008) landed in Boston. He had only $22 to his name, warily hidden in the lining of his pants, and the support of his sponsor, the New York Association for New Americans. It wasn't easy for him to find work as a mechanical engineer, so he barely made ends meet by leapfrogging from one menial job to another. He finally found more promising employment in Ohio, and was eventually able, in 1969 at the age of 40, to start his own business with his brother, Bill. Along the way, he fell in love with a woman named Rosaria Puccio, and they married and had children. The author negotiated their religious differences-he's decidedly secular and she was raised Catholic-with the help of the Ethical Culture Society, a humanist philosophical group that emphasizes the shared moral ground of the world's major theologies. Konstantin, an avid reader and lifelong student, later earned a master's degree from Columbia University in industrial management. In this book, he constantly situates his own personal experience in the context of geopolitical affairs, which largely meant the dramatic unfolding of the Cold War. He also includes astute discussions of American politics, never shying away from analysis of major political figures, such as Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, or watershed events, such as the Bay of Pigs and Watergate. One recurrent theme is his exasperation with Western credulity: "I was still haunted by the question of why so many Americans and European intellectuals...still believed the Soviet propaganda." This is the second installment of the author's memoirs, and as in many autobiographies, there's plenty of space devoted to quotidian affairs-the details of vacations, personal financial matters, and the like. These discussions will largely interest those who know the author personally, particularly his family members. However, his discussions of communism's unraveling, and of its intellectual attraction to Westerners, provide a stirring testimony of real, though sometimes ignored, global atrocities. It establishes Konstantin as an extraordinary moral witness who faithfully recorded depredations that man visited upon his fellow man in the name of ideology. An often gripping account of a tempestuous half-century. - KIRKUS REVIEW