What we're about

This is a group for anyone with a thirst for knowledge. We'll be reading non-fiction books from a vast range of topics: history, biography, philosophy, economics, science and anything else we can come up with. All books will be aimed at the non-specialist, the aim is to learn, not to confuse! Locations for meetings will be pubs or cafes the inner west. People of all ages and interests are welcome.

Upcoming events (1)

Sovietistan by Erika Fatland

Online event

Sovietistan: Travels in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan

Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan became free of the Soviet Union in 1991. But though they are new to modern statehood, this is a region rich in ancient history, culture, and landscapes unlike anywhere else in the world.

Traveling alone, Erika Fatland is a true adventurer in every sense. In Sovietistan, she takes the reader on a compassionate and insightful journey to explore how their Soviet heritage has influenced these countries, with governments experimenting with both democracy and dictatorships.

In Kyrgyzstani villages, she meets victims of the tradition of bride snatching; she visits the huge and desolate Polygon in Kazakhstan where the Soviet Union tested explosions of nuclear bombs; she meets shrimp gatherers on the banks of the dried out Aral Sea; she witnesses the fall of a dictator.

She travels incognito through Turkmenistan, a country that is closed to journalists. She meets exhausted human rights activists in Kazakhstan, survivors from the massacre in Osh in 2010, and German Mennonites that found paradise on the Kyrgyzstani plains 200 years ago. We learn how ancient customs clash with gas production and witness the underlying conflicts between ethnic Russians and the majority in a country that is slowly building its future in nationalist colors.

Once the frontier of the Soviet Union, life follows another pace of time. Amidst the treasures of Samarkand and the brutalist Soviet architecture, Sovietistan is a rare and unforgettable adventure.


There is at least one copy on the shelves of each of our local libraries (Maribyrnong, Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Moonee Valley and Melbourne). It is a longish book but there is no need to travel to all five Stans.

https://www.evernote.com/l/AJJFoNZL2lzn2eNd28X4f_8_KjLyHuUssA8/ has links to most of the books that were mentioned at our January session.

Some Zoom pointers at https://www.meetup.com/Inner-West-non-fiction-book-club/boards/thread/[masked]

Past events (91)

Start of year get together

Needs a location

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