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Doukhobor Diaspora – A Book Review

February 18, 2021

A family oral history offers an antidote to past misunderstandings about the Russian sect

Vera Maloff, Our Backs Warmed By the Sun: Memories of a Doukhobor Life (Halfmoon Bay, B.C.: Caitlin Press, 2020), 264 pages with numerous photographs (paper), $24.95.

When I was in my teens, a terrible explosion rocked my West Kootenay neighbourhood. A 16-year-old boy had accidentally blown himself up while on a mission for the radical Sons of Freedom Doukhobors, a breakaway group from the usually peaceful Russian sect that had settled in British Columbia more than a century ago. It was a horrifying event that shook the community and marked me forever. Now, Vera Maloff has returned to that time and given me new eyes with which to see the reasons and motivations behind that incident. More importantly, Maloff has given us a cultural guide to help us more clearly understand the people of this unique B.C. population.

1036 Kootenay Doukhobor family saga

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