Arab World
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192 pages, Hardback
222x143mm, Portrait

Published September 2012

ISBN-10: 1906768765
ISBN-13: 9781906768768
A Kazakh Teacher's Story:
Surviving the Silent Steppe
This book begins where The Silent Steppe left off. It is early 1945, and the author, Mukhamet, still recuperating from serious war injuries, has travelled thousands of kilometres back to his home village in the eastern Kazakhstan steppe.

As he encounters scenes of desperate poverty, he quickly realises the immense sacrifices made by local people, and particularly women, while the able-bodied men were away fighting. Mukhamet endeavours to pick up the pieces of his pre-war life, working hard to support his extended family, marrying, continuing his education, and eventually embarking on a life in teaching dedicated to giving young people the best education possible.

Through his insightful portraits of local party bosses, district officials and bureaucrats, and tales of the vicissitudes of daily life, a broader, more personal picture emerges of life under Stalin, and of his pervading shadow decades on. The author's moral integrity, stoicism and profound respect for the struggles of the common people stand out in this memoir of a life of self-effacing dedication.
Mukhamet Shayakhmetov - Mukhamet Shayakhmetov was seven years old when the Soviet government's drive to collectivise farming and herding in all forms, including nomadic, reached the vast steppes of Russia's central Asian empire, and specifically east Kazakhstan.

By forcing individual farmers to give up their sheep and cattle and join agricultural 'brigades', collectivisation brought to an end to the existence Mukhamet's family and people had led since time immemorial. Worse, Mukhamet's father was imprisoned as a kulak or 'class enemy', leaving his family stripped of their livestock and possessions and ostracised from society.

Related title(s):
The Silent Steppe, The Story of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin By Mukhamet Shayakhmetov