Item description for Dancing Under the Red Star: The Extraordinary Story of Margaret Werner, the Only American Woman to Survive Stalin's Gulag by Karl Tobien...
Overview Presents the unforgettable story of Margaret Werner, the only American woman to survive the brutal labor camps of Stalinist Russia, revealing the heartbreak, the hardships, and the fear that she and other American women, men, and children endured under the oppressive Soviet state. Original.
Publishers Description The shocking and inspirational saga of Margaret Werner and her miraculous survival in the Siberian death camps of Stalinist Russia. Between 1930 and 1932, Henry Ford sent 450 of his Detroit employees plus their families to live in Gorky, Russia, to operate a new manufacturing facility. This is the true story of one of those families-Carl and Elisabeth Werner and their young daughter Margaret-and their terrifying life in Russia under brutal dictator Joseph Stalin. Margaret was seventeen when her father was arrested on trumped-up charges of treason. Heartbroken and afraid, she and her mother were left to withstand the hardships of life under the oppressive Soviet state, an existence marked by poverty, starvation, and fear. Refusing to comply with the Socialist agenda, Margaret was ultimately sentenced to ten years of hard labor in Stalin's Gulag. Filth, malnutrition, and despair accompanied merciless physical labor. Yet in the midst of inhumane conditions came glimpses of hope and love as Margaret came to realize her dependence upon "the grace, favor, and protection of an unseen God." "In all, it would be thirty long years before Margaret returned to kiss the ground of home. "Of all the Americans who made this virtually unknown journey-ultimately spending years in Siberian death camps-Margaret Werner was the only woman who lived to tell about it. Written by her son, Karl Tobien, "Dancing Under the Red Star "is Margaret's unforgettable true story: an inspiring chronicle of faith, defiance, and personal triumph
Citations And Professional Reviews Dancing Under the Red Star: The Extraordinary Story of Margaret Werner, the Only American Woman to Survive Stalin's Gulag by Karl Tobien has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Library Journal - 03/27/2006
Booklist - 05/01/2006 page 68
Christian Retailing - 06/05/2006 page 30
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Karl Tobien was born in 1956 just outside a Soviet slave labor camp in Siberia. He arrived in America in 1961 with his mother, Margaret Werner, and grandmother. Today Karl is an executive consultant and inspirational speaker. He resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife, Tina, and their four children.
Reviews - What do customers think about Dancing Under the Red Star: The Extraordinary Story of Margaret Werner, the Only American Woman to Survive Stalin's Gulag?
Interesting and informative! Jan 17, 2007
I learned a lot about the Russian political system from reading this book. The author did a very good job telling his mother's story. This is a good book to pass on to others.
Great read, an emotional tale, not really for history buffs. Sep 9, 2006
This was an excellent book for those wishing to learn the basics of survival in Stalin's Gulag system. It is an account of the life of Ms. Werner and her relationships with her friends, family and fellow camp members, guards, etc. What it is not is a history of Ford's work in the USSR. Those hoping to learn the details of the Gorky plant and Ford's involvement with it, as I was, will find virtually no detail of this in the book. The writting is basic and reads like a well written high school essay. There is a clear born-again tone the the post by the author, but it does not detract from the overall experience, even for an athiest. All said it is an excellent addition to the library of those studying the era. NOTE: I read the ARC, not the final published copy.
Should Be a Best Seller Aug 26, 2006
Shocking little-known story about Detroit's General Motors making a deal with Soviet Union's paranoid dictator Stalin (1879-1953) to ship over American auto experts after WW2 to help Stalin establish one of his failed ideas: a Russian automobile plant. Signing up for what they deem an adventure, is an idealistic man from Detroit and his wife & teenage daughter.
Shortly thereafter the Detroit family, and other American families, as well, are branded - without evidence - traitors, and sent to Stalin's Death Camps - the Gulag - as was Solzhenitsyn. This is one of those true stories that is more horrifying than fiction.
In Stalin's frightening, paranoid society, friend betrays friend to stay alive. The reader is given a close-up glimpse of Stalin's reign of terror, under which he implemented poorly-thought-out ideas that resulted in millions of deaths, such as collectivization of farms, that resulted in loss of crop production and famines where millions died of starvation. Under Stalin, a staggering 26 million individuals lost their lives.
Remarkably, the mother and daughter, sent to bone-chilling Siberia, survive every hardship imaginable. Poignant scenes include meeting the wife of composer Sergei Prokofiev (she was also denounced as a traitor, a bitterly unhappy woman) - and the reunion of the heroine and her mother after a separation of months in, of all places, a smelly latrine. A small miracle is that the heroine gave birth successfully to a son, who was kept alive in Siberia.
The heroine's story is told by this same son, after his mother's death by natural causes in America at age 75. He candidly admits that he had once been a bitter man, but that telling his mother's story has changed him. When his mother finally arrived back on her native soil three decades after her imprisonment, she kissed the ground of America, after glimpsing the Statue of Liberty upon her return. This thrilling page-turner is recommended for anyone from high school on up.
Excellent Story! Jul 19, 2006
I found the previous review quite interesting as Dancing Under the Red Star was never called a memoir. To quote the cover, it is "The extraordinary STORY of Margaret Werner, the only American woman to survive Stalin's Gulag." The author's choice to write in first person made his mother's story very real to the reader.
I also found it interesting that the last reviewer was disappointed claiming that the author's only purpose was to "proselytize his faith." Obviously the point of the story was missed. It was Margaret Werner and her mother Elizabeth's faith that enabled them to endure the horrendous ordeal. Repeatedly the hand of God moved in their lives in miraculous ways. Margaret's son is recounting his family history, where God played a substantial role in their survival.
Excellent book revealing the darker side of the Stalin regime.
Not a True "Memoir" Jul 11, 2006
Margaret Werner's story is fascinating and compelling, particularly because the facts surrounding the Ford workers living in Russia are so little known. However, the first-person narrative is misleading because it is actually Ms. Werner's son, author Karl Tobien, who is doing the "remembering." By the end of the memoir, the reader understands that Tobien's larger purpose in relating his mother's experiences is to proselytize his faith. That aspect of the book disappointed me.