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Dissident for Life
Alexander Ogorodnikov and the Struggle for Religious Freedom in Russia
HARDCOVER; Published: 2/7/2013
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6743-8
347 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9

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This gripping book tells the largely unknown story of longtime Russian dissident Alexander Ogorodnikov — from Communist youth to religious dissident, in the Gulag and back again. Ogorodnikov's courage has touched people from every walk of life, including world leaders such as Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher.

In the 1970s Ogorodnikov performed a feat without precedent in the Soviet Union: he organized thousands of Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic Christians in an underground group called the Christian Seminar. When the KGB gave him the option to leave the Soviet Union rather than face the Gulag, he firmly declined because he wanted to change "his" Russia from the inside out. His willingness to sacrifice himself and be imprisoned meant leaving behind his wife and newborn child.

Ogorodnikov spent nine years in the Gulag, barely surviving the horrors he encountered there. Despite KGB harassment and persecution after his release, he refused to compromise his convictions and went on to found the first free school in the Soviet Union, the first soup kitchen, and the first private shelter for orphans, among other accomplishments.

Today this man continues to carry on his struggle against government detainments and atrocities, often alone. Readers will be amazed and inspired by Koenraad De Wolf's authoritative account of Ogorodnikov's life and work.

Read the foreword by David Alton on EerdWord, the Eerdmans blog.
Lord David Alton (from foreword)
— former member of British Parliament
"Alexander Ogorodnikov's life story is far from over, but it testifies to a rare courage and sacrifice. It is our duty to tell it to all generations."
Philip Boobbyer
— University of Kent
"A terrific book about a remarkable man. . . . Ogorodnikov is one of the most courageous of the Soviet dissidents. His extraordinary life is testimony to the way faith can emerge and grow even in the most difficult circumstances."
Perry L. Glanzer
— Baylor University
"Simply one of the most inspiring biographies I have ever read. If you want to know what it takes to be a modern-day saint in Russia, read this story. Your life will never be the same."
Boris Jakim
— translator of Dostoevsky's Notes from the House of the Dead
"Who would have thought that heroes — moral and spiritual heroes — still exist in our world? But from the 1970s Alexander Ogorodnikov has been such a hero, first as a dissident battling the anti-human Soviet state and then as a crusader for religious and social rights in post-Communist Russia. Some men are born to sacrifice their personal happiness for the common good. Ogorodnikov is such a man."
Danny Smith
— cofounder, Jubilee Campaign
"Alexander Ogorodnikov is a towering character in the history of the human rights movement in Russia. . . . His stand for the truth in a system of lies and his courage and faith are an inspiration to us all. Ogorodnikov is an authentic voice for freedom and justice. This book tells his story and explains why we hold him in such esteem and why he commands our affection and respect."
Spirit & Life
"Alexander Ogorodnikov, the central figure of this book, personifies the struggle of the Russian people. He stands as a beacon for them and for us who are apt to forget the price that is paid somewhere, sometime, by someone, for the inestimable gift of religious and political freedom."
Living Church
"A major figure in Christian witness in Russia for the last six decades. . . . Ogorodnikov has remained as a kind of moral compass for a society fraught with corruption, disintegration, and anti-Semitism."
"A readable biography of a courageous Christian who stood up first to Communists and then to Putinists."
The Messenger (UK)
"A story of unsurpassed heroism and sacrifice in the name of Christ in our time. This well-written book deserves to be widely read. It is a hugely inspiring account."
Christian Renewal
"At a time of easy compromise in the name of getting along, this book serves as a chronicle of a life lived in the service of the Lord."
Midwest Book Review
"A fine history of the overall struggles for religious freedom in Russia."
International Journal for Religious Freedom
"In the preface to the book, a friend of the Russian human rights activist Alexander Ogorodnikov, Lord David Alton, says that the life story of this man is a testimony of his exceptional courage and self-sacrifice, and that it is our responsibility to share it with all the future generations. The author of the book looked at that task as his mission. He wrote a truly heroic saga about a man who not only fought the Soviet regime but also defended other people."