Soon after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Keith Rosten leaves the United States to be a Fulbright Lecturer in newly-independent Kazakhstan. In “Once in Kazakhstan,” Rosten draws a sometimes humorous portrait of a critical period in the emergence of this Central Asian country, interweaving the challenges and exhilaration of living in Kazakhstan with the historical backdrop of a nation grappling with its independence. From horse heads in the Central Market, to guns on the ski slopes, and to the first-ever parliamentary elections, Rosten takes you on a whirlwind tour of the country. He vividly recounts the change in currency from the Soviet “ruble” to the “tenge” and travels with a candidate for parliament to a rural village near Semipalatinsk.
Using his knowledge of local language and customs, Rosten provides access to native sources on the history, politics, traditions, and spirit of Kazakhstan. Complete with photographs of the people, places, and monuments of the country, “Once in Kazakhstan” is an invaluable resource for anyone who is interested in learning more about, or traveling to, the fascinating landscape of this emerging nation.