Wine from Raisins: A Life Transformed Through Communist Gulag to Canadian Arctic

Wine from Raisins: A Life Transformed Through Communist Gulag to Canadian Arctic

by Josef Svoboda
  • biography
  • english-from-canada
  • environmentalism
  • religion-spirituality
Josef Svoboda's autobiography recounts a life of faith, perseverance, idealism and a passionate love for the environment. His life began in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Over almost nine decades, he has overcome soul-destroying challenges — nine years in Communist prison camps, almost a decade of being refused the full rights of citizenship in his native country, coming to Canada and learning a new language while obtaining his PhD in four years, then spending three decades measuring the impact of climate change on Canada's Arctic.


Josef Svoboda, author

Josef Svoboda is a professor emeritus of biology at the University of Toronto. He has received numerous academic and societal awards for his work. In 2017, Pope Francis bestowed a papal knighthood on the author, making him a member of the Order of St. Sylvester. He lives in Burlington, Ontario.


  • Josef Svoboda tells the story of a life that encompassed 20th-century history and winds up facing the most important questions of the 21st century — questions about what we have learned from nature, what we have done to our environment and who we will become as we drift away from the natural world. “A boy from Moravia survived the Second World War. Then, as a student, he was arrested by the post-war Communist regime and spent almost nine years in various prisons and concentration camps, his life seemingly ruined in the process. But he endured, succeeded in finding freedom on a different continent and, at the end and with God’s help, became a recognized Arctic tundra scientist,” is how Svoboda tells us this story because he wants us to understand “that nothing is ever lost in life; that it is possible to start anew, even after age 40.” This epic tale delivers a dose of historical realism to any romantic vision of life behind the Iron Curtain. Svoboda’s life story is rich nourishment for blossoming scientists. - The Catholic Register Link to review

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Novalis Publishing



rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 240

publication date: 09/01/2017

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book