Book Review - "The Accidental Anarchist"
Delin Colon
Delin Colón is the author of "Rasputin and The Jews: A Reversal of History" 
By Delin Colon
Published on 04/28/2012
"The Accidental Anarchist" is a first-person account of the author's Jewish grandfather and his three escapes from death.

A Jew's Tale of Survival in Czarist Russia
I wasn't able to put this book down. Having done a good deal of research on the Pale of Settlement in Czarist Russia, I recognized that Jacob Marateck, the author’s grandfather, voiced the sentiments and relayed the experience of many disenfranchised Jews. His tenuous existence, hair-raising experiences and three incredible escapes from the jaws of death, spanning 12,000 frozen and hungry miles are told in the first person. Culled from the many tales of Marateck’s journals, this account, written in the first person, has a very intimate quality. It was as if we were sitting around a fire, in the frozen forest, sharing a crust of bread, as he graced me with his story for the moment that we crossed paths. His intelligence, endurance, resolve and dry wit were not only his salvation, but our good fortune. The author is to be commended for preserving his voice and sharing his story. This is not only the tale of Jacob Marateck, but is representative of many Jews of Czarist Russia who were conscripted into the poorly equipped and badly organized army during the Russo-Japanese War. Kranzler also illustrates the extreme antisemitism that was government policy, and consequent oppression that Russian Jews were subjected to. Present also is a theme that typically emerges in accounts of disenfranchised Jews driven from their homes, in this era and others. No longer a member of the orthodox community, and spurned by non-Jewish Russians, Jacob lived with one foot in each world while feeling he belonged to neither. This account is an important history lesson, offering a view of Czarist Russia that was much more common than, and diametrically opposed to, the opulence and decadence of the aristocracy that is typically reported in accounts of that era. Kudos to Bryna Kranzler.