Beyond Memory: The Crimean Tatars' Deportation and Return

In This Review

Beyond Memory: The Crimean Tatars' Deportation and Return

By Greta Lynn Uehling
Palgrave Macmillan, 2004
320 pp. $75.00

Uehling is less interested in the story of Stalin's savage deportation of 190,000 Crimean Tatars over a few days in the spring of 1944 than in the meaning the story has for those who survived it and for those born of them. Why, she asks, has the "feeling of homeland" -- the emotional attachment that transcends experience, for it applies to those born in exile -- been so powerful, and where does it come from? These are particularly apt questions because the actual homecoming of slightly more than half of the Crimean Tatars who were in Central Asia has been harsh, impoverishing, and demeaning. As an anthropologist who spent much of six years gathering evidence and fathoming the encounters she had, she wants to understand the sources, nature, and effects of communal memory. For the non-anthropologist, she is a rich source of insight into the Crimean Tatar community and why it looms so large in Russian history and the contemporary Russian mind despite its diminished numbers today.

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