Born and raised in a suburb near Boston, Kenneth Maher had a passion for foreign languages and politics, which led him to obtain a master’s degree in Russian Area Studies while simultaneously working as an intern at the U.S. Capitol. After several years traveling in the former Soviet Union, Kenneth returned to school for his M.B.A., followed by a long career as a business executive. He worked and traveled extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and India. Kenneth paused his business career in response to the 9/11 attacks to serve as a military intelligence officer in Iraq. When not working or writing, Kenneth spends his time learning a new language (currently Italian) or enjoying a fascinating book. Wind of Change is his first book.
"Wind of Change takes the reader on a remarkable, adventure-packed odyssey in Russia that involves liquor-fueled business meetings, memorable food experiences, and daunting encounters with Russian law enforcement personnel and skeptics of Americans. The book also provides important information on the most effective ways to approach international business collaborations involving countries in the early stages of switching from socialism to capitalism. An intriguing read with several unforgettable scenes, it will challenge readers to think more critically about international relations and world governments."
San Francisco Book Review
"They called it the “Wild East,” those newly freed nations behind the just-toppled Iron Curtain. In the early ‘90s an unarmed army of Westerners descended on the fallen Soviet Union and its former satellites, some with agendas from important institutions and others with nothing but a backpack and a sense of adventure.
Kenneth Maher fell in between those two poles. A recent graduate in Russian studies, fluent in the language but with few prospects, Maher landed a job with a Chicago firm prospecting for real estate opportunities in Siberia, especially a golf course-casino-resort in the birch-forested land of the gulags. He recounts his stint in Wind of Change.
Maher’s Russian handler—ex-KGB—struck an ominous chord when he described the prospective location for the resort as a “compound.” Solzhenitsyn and Ginzburg flashed to Maher’s mind, and he wasn’t wrong. The area had housed a camp for political prisoners.
Through much of his sojourn, Maher recalls, he sought to “seize the opportunity to contribute to building a better future between Russia and America.” He wasn’t alone. Maher’s account represents one small piece in a mosaic of cross-purposes and naivete from the ‘90s—in the West a post-Cold War idyll and in Russia a time of poorly managed economic “reforms.”
"Wind of Change relates Maher’s remarkable two-year odyssey across a country in the throes of immense change, a journey that saw him attempt to forge ties between Russian and American businesses during a time when both sides were still deeply suspicious of each other. Maher offers a uniquely American perspective concerning the situation on the ground and so elucidates experiences of the upheaval in Russian life, rarely to be found in mainstream accounts of the early years following the collapse of communism. An enlightening addition to the literature on post-Soviet life and the rapidly changing nature of US-Russia relations, Wind of Change details Maher’s fascination with the Russian people and culture, and in doing so, ignites the interest of readers in learning more about all things Russian."
Manhattan Book Review