Book Review -Publishers' Weekly
by Yvonne Bornstein
Rated "G" by the Author.
edited: Sunday, January 09, 2005
Posted: Saturday, January 08, 2005
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Appeared In January 3rd,2005 edition
ELEVEN DAYS OF HELL: My True Story of Kidnapping, Terror, Torture and Historic FBI & KGB Rescue
Yvonne Bornstein with Mark Ribowsky. AuthorHouse, $28.95 (340p) ISBN 1-4184-9407-0
Born Yvonne Shilkin in Western Australia, the author of this debut memoir failed to get a start as a singer, survived one divorce and the murder of a fiancé, then married businessman Daniel Weinstock. As Bornstein tells it in this tabloid-style account, in 1992 they set out to make a killing exporting Western consumer goods to the newly opened Russian economy. Unfortunately, their Russian partner was a criminal, which eventually led to Yvonne and Daniel being kidnapped and held outside of Moscow, separately, for $1.6 million ransom total. Their prospects looked bleak, as cooperation between Russian and Western law enforcement authorities was negligible, but a shrewd Russian lawyer in the U.S. established communication between the FBI and the KGB. United efforts led to a rescue; the captors eventually got off with six months for racketeering; the marriage ended a few years later in divorce. In spite of professional assistance, the writing here is frequently pedestrian, and Bornstein is not an entirely sympathetic narrator ("I missed the money," she reports of the time after the rescue). Nevertheless, she throws stark light on the methods of kleptocrats, and on Russia’s spasmodic early attempts at capitalism.