The Accidental Anarchist

Biographies & Memoirs, History

By Bryna Kranzler

Publisher : Crosswalk Press

ABOUT Bryna Kranzler

Bryna Kranzler


By the time he was twenty-five years old, Jacob Marateck had been a Jewish officer in the notoriously anti-Semitic Russian army during the Russo-Japanese War, a revolutionary who sought to overthrow the Czar, and sentenced to death three times. After avoiding the firing squad for the final, unlikely time, he escaped from a Siberian forced labor camp with Warsaw's colorful "King of Thieves." Together, the two struggled to survive and obtain false papers to travel home while avoiding the Secret Police. Told from Marateck's uniquely humorous perspective, The Accidental Anarchist is the remarkable, true story of an ordinary man made extraordinary by participating in the history-making events of the 1900s in Russia and Poland. Throughout all the hardships he endured, he never lost his optimism, which was key to his survival.

Though I never knew him, I grew up hearing stories of my grandfather's adventures and misadventures that led to him getting sentenced to death three times in the early 1900s in Russia (and living to tell, and write, about it). But it wasn't until I spent several years with his diaries, and with his voice in my head, that I began to get to know him. And while he was, indeed, daring, impulsive and completely unconcerned about consequences (in a manner that recalled a cross between Maxwell Smart and Bart Simpson), that I began to understand that he stood up for what he believed in, despite the personal risk.

"The Accidental Anarchist is a profound testament to the power of faith, and to the continued survival of the Jewish people."
--Elie Wiesel

"The Accidental Anarchist" ... reads and feels like a great novel... [N]o Hollywood screenwriter could ever invent such an extraordinary tale..."
--Robert Avrech, Emmy Award-winning screenwriter

"...The adventures in this novel are many, and unforeseen... It's all part and parcel of the book's captivating plot that gets a big boost from the writing and the characterization."

"A story of the chaotic times of Eastern Europe in the 1900s, The Accidental Anarchist is a riveting read about one of the truly unique characters and stories of history that is not often heard about."
--Midwest Book Review

"A splendid, highly-recommended companion piece for students confronting the late-19th & early-20th century pivotal point in modern world history… It is an extension of the heart of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, the soul of searing Gulag writings & the pathos and futility of CATCH-22--suffused at every turn with the grit and wit of mendicant Judaism." 
--Herman Mast III, Emeritus, Department of History, UCONN

"It is somewhat of a miracle that this book even exists. Written from the more than one hundred year old diaries of her grandfather, Bryna Kranzler has captured an amazing story of survival, certain but somehow avoidable death, dire conditions of climate, hunger on the verge of starvation, all taken with humor and conviction...

The impact of this book is extraordinary. It reads like fiction, but all of it is true. It happened. From the diaries of a man who took the time to write an impossible history, all true, exciting and devastating."
--Dick Lofton, Endpaper Review

"This story is told by Bryna Kranzler, the granddaughter of Jacob Marateck. Ms. Kranzler’s captivating writing technique envelops the reader with Marateck’s magnetic personality... These conversations, events that should have been muddied by the ravages of time and history, are rewritten with incredible detail and exquisite narrative that pushes the reader ever-onward, hanging upon baited breath with each sentence. Yet between Marateck’s notes and Ms. Kranzler’s consistent ability to wrap it into moving prose, this memoir reads much more like a thrilling novel. In some cases, truth is indeed stranger than fiction... 
Marateck bares his heart through his carefully detailed notes. They become a symphony representing a brilliant, singularly valiant human life enveloped within the loving care of the author’s loving dedication. The Accidental Anarchist begins with a powerful allegro of youth, in which Marateck throws his life about in a careless affront to its sacred value."
--New York Journal of Books