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Who Lived, Who Died?

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Peter Gourevitch against a blurred background, with book cover for "Who Lived, Who Died?"

Founding Dean Peter Gourevitch publishes new book on his gripping family history across the 20th century

In a new nonfiction book, Peter Gourevitch, founding dean of the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), traces the history of his remarkable family members through some of the most trying times of the 20th century.

The book, “Who Lived, Who Died? My Family’s Struggle with Stalin and Hitler,” covers family members who were revolutionaries in czarist Russia, Menshevik oppositionists in Bolshevik Russia, Jewish socialists in Berlin who fled the Nazis and more.

Gourevitch said he had not considered tackling the project until after he retired from GPS.

“I had been accumulating material for many years, indeed decades, but had not thought about a book — and then I realized I was the only family member left who knew enough of the story and had materials to put it together,” Gourevitch said.

In the book, Gourevitch weaves their histories together based on archival research and official documents, personal letters, family legends and his own memories. 

“Destiny and fate are not purely individual — it depends on who they interact with and what they learn from others,” Gourevitch explained. “In the case of my family, it is hard to isolate them into a single category: they were Jewish, socialist, Russian and refugees. All those elements interacted — they belonged to networks, to institutions, that shaped their fates.”

The book is available through major online retailers, such as Bookshop and Amazon.

“I am happy for my family that their story now exists in print,” Gourevitch said. “I think the book has importance beyond my personal history for themes about democratic instability, watching for threats and protecting yourself by worrying about others. If others are in danger, so are you.”

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Virginia S. Watson is the Assistant Director of Communications for the School of Global Policy and Strategy. She has spent her entire career in editing, writing and design, both in industry and higher education. She holds a master's in technical and professional communication from Auburn University and a B.S. in journalism from Troy University.
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