The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy

The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 1594634009

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“A gripping narrative and a stunning piece of investigative journalism… [that] gives us the human side to the story of two young men who must be understood as more than monsters” (Christian Science Monitor)

On April 15, 2013, two homemade bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston marathon, killing three people and wounding more than 264 others. In the ensuing manhunt, Tamerlan Tsarnaev died, and his younger brother, Dzhokhar, was captured and brought to trial. Yet even after the guilty verdict and the death sentence, what we didn't know was why. Why did the American Dream go so wrong for two immigrants? How did such a nightmare come to pass?

Acclaimed Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen is uniquely able to tell us. A teenage immigrant herself, she returned to Russia to cover firsthand the transformations that wracked the region from the 1990s on. It is there that she begins her astonishing account of the Tsarnaev brothers, descendants of ethnic Chechens deported to Central Asia in the Stalin era. Following the family in their futile attempts to make a life for themselves in one war-torn locale after another and then, as new émigrés, in an utterly disorienting new world, she reconstructs the brothers' struggle between assimilation and alienation, which incubated a deadly sense of mission. And she traces how such a split in identity can fuel the metamorphosis into a new breed of homegrown terrorist, with feet on American soil but sense of self elsewhere. 

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assumed the obligation for sheltering and feeding all citizens but failed consistently, and failed worse the farther from the center the citizens resided. People lived in barracks, in rehabbed fort structures, in sheds and other temporary dwellings, and well into the late twentieth century, indoor plumbing and cooking facilities remained the stuff of dreams. Neighborhood borders were inviolate: a male outsider who tried to date a neighborhood girl would be knifed. The single unifying culture of

last two were Moroccan immigrants, a seventeen-year-old high school track competitor and his twenty-four-year-old coach, who had been fingered by amateur online detectives. On Thursday, April 18, the Post published a photograph of them on the cover, with the banner headline BAG MEN: FEDS SEEK THESE TWO PICTURED AT BOSTON MARATHON. The evidence, as analyzed by the online crowd: one of the men was wearing a black backpack—and a black backpack, or what remained of it after a bomb exploded inside,

protect it, and friends sometimes mocked them for this. Zubeidat thought they looked as beautiful and exotic as two swans, and a quarter-century later, when they had moved halfway across the world, she took to telling people that “the Swans” had been their nickname back home. Anzor’s love for Zubeidat, which he said befell him at first sight, was anything but brotherly. It was romantic in a way most unusual for men from these parts and especially for men from his culture, in which to this day the

Lulu looked up and saw a group of men in SWAT gear entering the house through the back porch. Their boots stomped simultaneously up and down the back stairs. Lulu called the landlord, who lived upstairs. He said that he was all right: he must have left the basement door ajar and law enforcement noticed it during a sweep of the street. The men in SWAT gear stomped through the house and out of it. Lulu and her boyfriend returned to switching between coverage of the hunt for Jahar in English and

the gentle, innocent man painted by Elena: in the document he is frightening. More to the point, the officers were frightened of him. Before traveling to Florida they had viewed five videos of Ibragim’s fights, studied the physical traces the fights had left on his body—his broken nose and the “cauliflower ears” deformed from being repeatedly boxed. The fights they watched are indeed scary: filmed in poor lighting, from below, they show lithe, extremely muscular men attacking each other in a

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