Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review: The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy by Masha Gessen

Title: The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy 
Author: Masha Gessen
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Riverhead Books

Publish Date: April 7, 2015
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "The facts of the tragedy are established: On April 15, 2013, two homemade bombs fashioned from pressure cookers exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and wounding 264 others. The elder of the brothers suspected of committing this atrocity, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died in the ensuing manhunt; Dzhokhar will stand trial in January 2015. What we don’t know is why. How did such a nightmare come to pass?

This is a probing and powerful story of dislocation, and the longing for clarity and identity that can reach the point of combustion. Bestselling Russian-American author Masha Gessen is uniquely endowed with the background, access, and talent to tell it. She explains who the brothers were and how they came to do what they appear to have done. From their displaced beginnings, as descendants of ethnic Chechens deported to Central Asia in the Stalin era, Gessen follows them as they are displaced again, from strife-ridden Kyrgyzstan to war-torn Dagestan, and then, as émigrés to the United States, into an utterly disorienting new world. Most crucially, she reconstructs the struggle between assimilation and alienation that ensued for each of the brothers, fueling their apparent metamorphosis into a new breed of homegrown terrorist, with their feet on American soil but their loyalties elsewhere—a split in identity that seems to have incubated a deadly sense of mission."

My Two Cents:

"The Brothers" is a nonfiction book about the Tsarnaev brothers who committed the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. This book explores the story of their family and where they came from and what may have driven each of them to do what they did on that tragic day. It is an interesting story of terrorism with both foreign and domestic influence.

This book also happens to be one of my favorite nonfiction authors, Masha Gessen, a reporter who is known for her focus on Russian related subjects. As with a lot of other Gessen's books, she does a great job of giving a lot of different sides to the story so that you're really able to understand why things happen the way that they happened. She sheds a lot of light on the situation and looks at all of the complicated angles of this event.

This book really drew me in. Not only because it's tragic but because I was so wondering about what would drive people who came to this country trying to escape terrorism to commit more terrorist attacks. It was really interesting to see the differences between both of the brothers. This is a sad account of what led to an American tragedy that is still on so many of our minds.



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