The Accidental Anarchrist by Bryna Kranzler
Print Length: 332 pages
Chapter 1: In the Beginning
I have no excuse, save for the ignorance of youth and a desire for grand adventure, which may have been one and the same thing. Consequently, the seemingly minor decision I made to end my education before the age of thirteen led me down a path from which each future choice was misdirected by the previous foolish one.
Not that I didn't have a loving family to guide me, particularly my older brother, Mordechai, who had seen me risk my life repeatedly but was unable to convince me to make at least one sensible decision. There was simply too much fun to be had.
The result was that, in a little over ten years, I went from being a yeshivastudent, a baker's assistant, and labor organizer, to a corporal in the Russian army during the war in Manchuria (in which the men under my command wanted to kill me, simply for being a Jew, as much as the enemy did, simply for being in the way), to a revolutionary. For my efforts, I earned my first two death sentences, which was a little more excitement than I needed.
This limited my curiosity as to whether my end would come from freezing or starvation, from Japanese artillery or Chinese bandits, and whether it would be today or tomorrow. From my experiences with the comically inept Russian army (at least, it would have been comical had our lives not been at stake), I learned that, no matter how terrible it was for anyone to be in the midst of a war, it was a hundred times worse being on the losing side.
Still, I was slow to put into practice the lessons from my youth and, following the war, became a revolutionary who wanted to overthrow the Czar. This got me involved in amateur spy missions that would have gotten a Hollywood screenwriter fired, but got me sentenced to death for the third time.
As a result, I travelled the width of Russia, from Petersburg to Siberia, where my adventures were to have come to an end. But even if my record wasn't clean, my conscience was; everything I did was done with the most honorable intentions.
And ultimately provided enough excitement to last a lifetime.
(©Bryna Kranzler 2010)