In Menlo Park-based author Alexander Kugushev’s view, “change” is America’s product. And while the process of change is disruptive, he believes that we, as a nation, are marked by resiliency.
“Innovation and invention have consequences, disruption being one,” he says. “Yet American culture is marked by conviction. I’d like every citizen to embrace that. Because we are human there is much wrong, but there is also much to believe in.”
On Saturday, April 3, at 11:00 am, Kugushev will share more of his insights about “how lucky we are” and discuss his book Resilient America: An Immigrant Examines Our Nation’s Adaptive Continuity at the Menlo Park Library. The free program is supported by the Friends of the Library and will take place in the downstairs meeting room.
A naturalized citizen who has spent 50 years in this country, Kugushev was born in Nice, France, to Russian parents and spent his early years in Yugoslavia, Austria and Switzerland. As a youngster, he lived in Europe through World War II, the defining experience of his life. He and his mother immigrated to Argentina and he arrived in the United States in 1960.
He finds it discouraging that native-born Americans today see such little hope for their country and focus on the negative rather than the positive. He cites what he calls “a small example.” In the 1988 Winter Olympics, U.S. athletes were awarded only six medals with the resulting hue and cry about the “decline of America.” At this year’s Olympics, the U.S. team earned 37 medals.
“Did anyone write articles about America’s resilience?” he asks rhetorically. “Good news is largely ignored and taken for granted; bad news is magnified out of proportion.”
Before turning to the writing of books – his next is based on the memoirs of his mother – Kugushev was the publisher of educational books, first in print and then online. He speaks seven languages and has traveled extensively. “I have some Mongolian blood and wanted to ride a horse on the Steppes,” he says of a trip last year to Mongolia.
Indeed, Kugushev is an adventurer of places – and of ideas.
Photo by Chris Gulker