The Brothers

The Brothers

The Road to An American Tragedy

Book - 2015
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An important story for our era: How the American Dream went wrong for two immigrants, and the nightmare that resulted.

On April 15, 2013, two homemade bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 264 others. In the ensuing manhunt, Tamerlan Tsarnaev died, and his younger brother, Dzhokhar, was captured and ultimately charged on thirty federal counts. Yet long after the bombings and the terror they sowed, after all the testimony and debate, what we still haven't learned is why. Why did the American Dream go so wrong for two immigrants? How did such a nightmare come to pass?

Acclaimed Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen is uniquely endowed with the background, access, and talents to tell the full story. An immigrant herself, who came to the Boston area with her family as a teenager, she returned to the former Soviet Union in her early twenties and covered firsthand the transformations that were wracking her homeland and its neighboring regions. It is there that the history of the Tsarnaev brothers truly begins, as descendants of ethnic Chechens deported to Central Asia in the Stalin era. Gessen follows the family in their futile attempts to make a life for themselves in one war-torn locale after another and then, as new émigrés, in the looking-glass, utterly disorienting world of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Most crucially, she reconstructs the struggle between assimilation and alienation that ensued for each of the brothers, incubating a deadly sense of mission. And she traces how such a split in identity can fuel the metamorphosis into a new breed of homegrown terrorist, with feet on American soil but sense of self elsewhere.
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2015.
ISBN: 9781594632648
Branch Call Number: 363.32509 GESSEN
Characteristics: xiv, 273 pages ; 24 cm


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Feb 01, 2019

A very well written account. Exposing many unanswered questions. A detailing of how terrorists engaged in the war on terror create and expand terrorist activity to enhance their paychecks

Nov 24, 2018

Masha Geesen has written books about corruption in Putin’s Russian. Now she has written a book about corruption in the US system of justice especially when dealing with immigrants from the middle east. Well researched, meticulously written, detailed and fair – this book asks questions about the Boston Marathon terrorist attack we should all be asking. Who were these young men, how did the authorities find them so quickly, were they guilty of the crime or are they scapegoats? I was unnerved by the answers she provided.

Apr 15, 2018

I read this book after seeing the movie Patriot Day. In the movie, we do not meet the brothers until the bombings occur. In the book, you get a better idea of what their lives were like when they came to America. There was much unhappiness in their lives. Poverty, splintered families, and constantly moving.
The sense I got from reading the book was that this was a family that was in America but not wanting to be here and unfortunately we know the results.

Nov 25, 2015

I read this book several months ago, and at that time was left with unanswered questions. I just finished a review by Gary Indiana in the 15 Sep issue of the London Review of Books (available at KCLS (Bellevue)). He talks about the Brothers feckless parents and sketchy upbringing. I am left with the same question he is - how would kids who have not shown anything in the way of incentive or ideas manage to build bombs and execute a plan - all on their own. This is certainly a thought provoking book and well worth reading.

Aug 12, 2015

Interesting book, however I felt it did not really articulate reasons for this behaviour. I felt the author was distanced from cause and effect. Still interesting read.


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