Saturday, July 25, 2009

Amateur Book Review - Tales Of Priut Almus

Tales of Priut Almus: Participant Observation in a Russian Children's Shelter by Robert Belenky is a non-fiction book about a Clinical Child Psychologist who heads to Russia to research the Russian Children's Shelter Priut.

After retiring, Robert Belenky began his research on the Russian shelters. It all started in 1998 and he returned to the shelter many times in the 10 years wrapped up in this book

This book recounts the interviews he had with the children, the staff of the shelter and the founder of this program, Mikhail Markarievich. In this program children who have had difficult, horrible, or sad beginnings join others in the same situations. Rather than being placed with families who may or may not, be able to deal with the child's individual sitiations they are placed in Almus which not only helps them deal with their emotions but teaches them to be the best they can be. There are many orphans and abandoned children in Russia which is why Dr. Belensky choose to go there for his research.

He hopes that his findings will eventually find their way to America and change the way we support our foster children programs. While foster homes can be loving and provide good lives for children. There are many accounts of abuse and loneliness that could be abolished if we were to create loving, institutions were children create families and community with others who understand them and have been through the same situations all while under the care and watchful eye of educated professionals.

Dr. Belenky is onto something, and I can only hope that his hard work and dedication to a cause that we cannot close our eyes to, finds its way to the way foster care is handled here.


  1. This sound very interesting but so depressing. I hope something does come from this, not only for Russian orphans, but for those in all the poor countries around the world.

  2. Thank you for the lovely review. I especially appreciated the proper emphasis on the public policy implications. I was hoping that readers would focus on these. One important correction is needed here: My name is not "Belensky" (a common mistake that used to infuriate my father) but rather "Belenky." Please deal with that at your earliest convenience. A few words in response to Bill and Lorie Shewbridge: Although many of the children we meet in this book have had a very hard time indeed in all aspects of their lives, the book is far from depressing. Everyone so far has reported it is an upbeat take on a rough situation. It is funny in fact and sometimes downright silly in a Groucho Marxist sense. It has been read by schoolchildren here in Vermont - including my grandchildren - who loved it and were not even one tiny bit traumatized!
    Thanks again ...
    Bob Belenky [sic]


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