Masha Gessen “The Tsarevna Brothers”

Over the years I have become rather disciplined: I only read one book at a time. These last few weeks however I have lapsed and have rotated several books, and oddly enough, I finished four of them in the same night. I’ll try to review all of them in the next few days.

I picked up Masha Gessens “The Tsarevna Brothers” at the library here in Stockholm. As a side-note let me express my gratitude towards the libraries in Stockholm: Thank you for being on top of the flood of books being published, always being open to suggestions and having such wonderful staff.

I have a lot of faith in the ability of journalist Masha Gessen although I don’t think I’ve read any of Gessens’ books before. My father has talked about the book about Putin so maybe that one is next on my TBR-list.

I remember the Boston-Bombings: how chocked I was at the cold-blooded nature of it: at the finish line of a marathon. All the victims were just plain citizens. But who were the bombers?

Information trickles down to Sweden but naturally it is not the first thing in the news after a while: we have problems of our own. But this book gave me some answers.

Gessen is not apologizing for them, but is convinced of their guilt. The goal of the book is to figure out how they came to carry out the attack: their thinking and their actions leading up to that faithful day. Also, by virtue of being a journalist who have both lived in the U.S and covered the war in Chechneya, Gessen places their lives in a bigger context: immigrants that do well, immigrants that decide to return to the old country and those in between. A sharp eye is also turned towards the apparatus that investigate the crimes. Many of the books I have read about terrorism since 9/11 point out that “The war on terror” as probably created more terrorists then it has hindered. Gessen writes about that: I did not know that several of the people arrested of terrorism have in fact been set up by law-enforcement. Like F.B.I actually putting them up to it and providing them with bombs.

This book is well written, nuanced and informative. I highly recommend it.


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