Synopses & Reviews
Desperate to escape South Texas, Stephanie Elizondo Griest dreamed of becoming a foreign correspondent. So she headed to Russia looking for some excitement—commencing what would become a four-year, twelve-nation Communist bloc tour that shattered her preconceived notions of the “Evil Empire.”
In Around the Bloc, Griest relates her experiences as a volunteer at a childrens shelter in Moscow, a propaganda polisher at the office of the Chinese Communist Partys English-language mouthpiece in Beijing, and a belly dancer among the rumba queens of Havana. She falls in love with an ex-soldier who narrowly avoided radiation cleanup duties at Chernobyl, hangs out with Cuban hip-hop artists, and comes to difficult realizations about the meaning of democracy.
is the absorbing story of a young journalist driven by a desire to witness the effects of Communism. Along the way, she learns the Russian mathematical equation for buying dinner-party vodka (one bottle per guest, plus an extra), stumbles upon Beijings underground gay scene, marches with 100,000 mothers demanding Elián Gonzálezs return to Cuba, and gains a new appreciation for the Mexican culture she left behind.
About the Author
STEPHANIE ELIZONDO GRIEST has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, Latina, and Travelers Tales. As a national correspondent for The Odyssey, an educational website for kids, she once drove forty-five thousand miles across America, documenting its history. She now runs an anticensorship activist organization called the Youth Free Expression Network out of New York City. Visit her website at www.aroundthebloc.com.