Rita Laima has authored an eloquent and frequently riveting account of an extraordinary personal experience. Having made the choice to enter the prison-like society of Soviet Latvia as a young woman born and raised in the United States, she tries to comprehend, decades later, what attracted and fascinated her by the land of her parents and ancestors. What makes Laima's project especially valuable and enlightening is the skill with which she reintegrates the minutiae of daily life in Soviet Latvia within the broader context of the nation's history. By contrasting her observations and experiences in Soviet Latvia with what she knows and what she has grown to value in a free and democratic society, Laima brings to light the mindless, absurd, and dehumanizing colonizing process enveloping a once-independent nation and its people. Laima's artistic eye and sensitivity bring out the beauty of nature as well as that of musical, architectural, and other cultural achievements that both illustrate Latvia's rich and colorful past and its people's continuing creative potential. The tribute the author pays to all those who dedicated their efforts and lives to achieve independence can serve as an inspiration not only to those engaged in similar struggles around the globe but also to those who take it for granted.