MY SECOND UNIVERSITY by Stanciu Stroia with Dan Dusleag











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My Second University will take readers back to another place in time, in another country, seeing life through the eyes of a courageous man and others who chose to suffer rather than give up their freedom. . . . It is a piece of history necessary to consume, necessary to remember.”
Times Mail (Bedford, Indiana)

“Stanciu Stroia’s fortitude is astonishing. . . . My Second University has an important place in the prison literature published since 1989.”
Keith Hitchins, Professor of History, University of Illinois, and
author of Rumania 1866-1947, and The Romanians 1774-1866

My Second University is an utterly impressive prison memoir. . . . a most necessary and valuable contribution to our understanding of the survival of human dignity under conditions of abysmal pressure.”
Vladimir Tismaneanu, Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, and author of Stalinism for All Seasons: A Political History of Romanian Communism

“I have a single wish: Never again shall a generation live through what mine has. Documenting the truth is the first preventive step. Therein lies the value of My Second University.”
Lena Constante, author of The Silent Escape: Three Thousand Days in Romanian Prisons.

My Second University contains moving passages and concentrated teachings.”
Lidia Bradley, Founder, Aspera Educational Foundation of Boston

My Second University is a labor of love.”
WBIW (Bedford, Indiana)

My Second University is a genuine lesson in life; a treasure of information; a testimony for future generations.”
Ioan Ciupea, Professor of History, National Museum of Transylvanian History

“Publishing My Second University is not only a good deed, but represents a historical necessity.”
Ion Gavrila-Ogoranu, former anti-Communist partisan, and author of Pine Trees Break, They Do Not Bend

“Dr. Stanciu Stroia’s Communist prison memoir is a welcomed addition to the American publishing landscape.”
Floricel Marinescu, Professor of History and Romanian State Chancellor

My Second University is written with pain, not abhorrence, and with the serenity conferred by suffering and love.”
Euphorion (Sibiu, Romania)

My Second University is a publishing event that restores precious files of history.”
Tribuna (Sibiu, Romania)

“The passage of time is modern man’s worst enemy; anyone in possession of similarly valuable material should follow Dr. Dan Dusleag’s example and publish it.”
Alexandru Ionescu, former political prisoner.

My Second University is an appealing, touching, loving story. It is a Cold War story, but also a timeless story of people caught in the crossfire of large movements, a memoir that speaks across the breadth of human experience. . . . This work is Kafkaesque [1] and compels attention to the age-old questions of oppression, betrayal, collaboration and endurance. . . . My Second University gives a historical perspective on a country by exploring the connections of a sensitive, imaginative, professional man to his national and familial roots. . . . The author’s voice is temperate and loving, even somewhat naïve. A spiritual quality comes through, one that has mastered the rage and thirst for vengeance that such an imprisonment experience might provoke. . . . Dr. Stroia is not lost in his own misery; he sees and describes his fellow inmates and their relationships and circumstances, and perhaps that is how he survived as well as he did. . . . My Second University is worthy of a broader audience and a place in the literature of the troubled and romantic Balkan countries, of which Romania is the largest.”
iUniverse Editorial Review (Editor's Choice)

My Second University has been awarded the iUniverse Editor's Choice by its publisher: “Only those titles that have scored exceptionally high in the Editorial Review process are chosen to be part of the coveted Editor's Choice program—the stamp of proven quality.


My Second University is the Winner of the 2006 Writers Notes Awards (Culture Category)

Writers Notes Magazine Book Award Winner

“Dr. Stroia's diary forms a record of woe and perseverance that is both personal and universal. In his own clear and searing words, we learn that he is guilty of truth, integrity and fortitude, and we are compelled to draw witness to this stunning testimony. His ordeal is as uncertain as his days, but as he gains release from his needless hardship, he draws upon the phrase: 'Patience. Little is left of this life, lived in honesty, work, and kindness...' Bravo, Doctor!
Writers Notes Magazine

My Second University is the Winner of the 2005 Observatorul Award

“Of an excellent design and print quality, My Second University is a documentary that deserves to be read.
Observatorul (Toronto, Canada)

My Second University attained the iUniverse Reader's Choice and Top Performer designations—“a recognition of both editorial excellence and sales success.

My Second University is not an ordinary memoir; Dr. Stroia’s words give voices to those who cannot speak—those who died as a result of persecution, and those today who still cannot bear to talk about it. . . .”
The Herald-Times (Bloomington, Indiana)

My Second University is a fresco of Transylvanian society in transition from the dawn of the Habsburg empire up to the Soviet occupation of Romania during WWII. The book spans a period of some 150 years and seven generations. The whole panorama of post-war Romania is unfolded before our eyes.
Salisbury Review (London, U.K.)

My Second University is a great source of knowledge, and a unique contribution to history . . . . Stroia’s passion is contagious, and his obvious expertise and familiarity with the subject make this book a success.

Writer’s Digest


My Second University is a book of memoirs with great historical value.”

Bucharest Daily News

My Second University is the moving story of a courageous man.”
Radio Romania International

My Second University is the review of a life crushed by mute suffering, a journal of humiliation endured with dignity. . . . Dr. Stanciu Stroia was thrown in prison for the offence of being moral in an immoral world. He was a victim of our own guilty silence. Thus, his story becomes a triumph of life, a lesson of history and one in humanity. . . . My Second University should be for all of us not only a memento, but a handbook against totalitarianism as well.
Romania Literara (Bucharest, Romania)

“Dr. Stanciu Stroia finds himself thrown in the inferno of the Communist repression in an absurd manner reminiscent of Kafka’s [2] The Trial. . . . My Second University is a precious historical source, a moving, honest and accurate testimony about the Communist prison environment.”
Dosarele Istoriei (Bucharest, Romania)

“What is striking in this narrative and photographs as well is that, despite the horrific experience, Stanciu Stroia maintains a very positive outlook on life, one that is neither cynical nor embittered. Reminiscent of Art Spiegelman’s [3] Maus, My Second University is a history of amazingly resilient people. . . . A remarkable book!”
Will Murphy, News Director, WFIU (Bloomington, IN)

My Second University is a tribute to the spirit of survival under the most inhumane conditions. . . . a gripping diary worthy of reading.”
Barbara Spencer, News Director, WBIW (Bedford, Indiana)

My Second University will broaden our students' global perspectives, offering greater insight into the tragedies of the past, and averting future generations from repeating the mistakes of their fathers. . . . A priceless work!
Dinah Cox, Regional Director, Indiana University International Experiences Program

My Second University marks a distinct departure from other, similar stories. This is a very Transylvanian book, not just for its contents, characters and situations it describes, but especially for the directness and forcefulness of its presentation. It is not because one may have read about Solzhenitsyn’s [4] gulags that these memoirs may be less poignant, quite the contrary. The difference here lies in the tone of the narrative, which is neither strident nor bitter—it is instead quietly factual, almost clinical, as the medical eye surveys the human sufferings. For this prisoner’s enquiring mind, this experience became a learning curve, not so much his Golgotha, for he was far too dignified to present it as such, rather something, which he describes metaphorically as his “second university”. . . . This book lets the world at large know the real face of Communist brutality. It is a memoir with a special relevance, bringing a new angle—that of a medical doctor and a fine observer of human frailty—to the prison literature. . . . It is a real blessing to have such work made available to an Anglo-Saxon readership. My Second University should be read by everybody young and old, as a sobering tale of our luck in the West for having missed such experience.
Constantin Roman, Founder, Centre for Romanian Studies (London, U.K.), and author of Continental Drift: Colliding Continents, Converging Cultures

My Second University is an excellent and moving contribution to the history of Communism in Romania. Stanciu Stroia’s stature in the face of such a calamity is inspiring.
Corina Suteu, Director, Romanian Cultural Institute of New York

“Dr. Stanciu Stroia was a symbol of his generation. A militant for the cause of the Romanian people, he dedicated his body and soul to this noble goal, only to discover that other forces governed his own fate. . . . My Second University is an interesting, attractive and well-documented book, with a great impact in the press and on the political scene.
Liviu Literat, Babes-Bolyai University (Cluj, Romania)

My Second University is a lesson of commitment to our predecessors, to our history and to our forgotten recent past. Stanciu Stroia writes without rage, with attention to detail and, at times, with humor. His storytelling gift earns his memoir a special place in the prison literature. This book is a page turner!
Radu Surdulescu, Professor of American Studies, University of Bucharest

“Publishing a memoir such as My Second University is a moral obligation toward our worthy ancestors. I thank Dan Dusleag for joining in our effort to recover the Romanian historical truth, so deficient in the national and international public consciousness.
Mircea Ivanoiu, Transylvania University (Brasov, Romania)

“The authors’ efforts in exposing the horrors of Communism are welcomed both by those who survived it, and by those who lived in the free world. At the trial of Communism, My Second University will be an essential piece of evidence.
Elena Andronache, Founder, Independent Group for Democracy (Bucharest, Romania)

My Second University chronicles the life of a martyr. I am happy that people like Dan Dusleag still exist, to entrust it to the printer.
Constantin Ticu Dumitrescu, President, Romanian Association of Former Political Detainees

My Second University is a work well done, illustrated with original photographs and unique documents. Dr. Stroia's story is a page of authentic history, one that is not found in textbooks.
Constantin Diaconescu, M.D., former political detainee

“Evoking the memory of Dr. Stanciu Stroia is both a pious and a scientific endeavor.”
Romulus Rusan, Director, International Center for Studies on Communism, and Founder, Sighet Memorial of the Victims of Communism

“Dr. Stroia was a member of the anti-Communist resistance who prevailed over the terror and suffering imposed in the Communist jails.
Buna Ziua Fagaras (Fagaras, Romania)

“A leading intellectual. . . . Dr. Stanciu Stroia earned his place in the history of the anti-Communist fight.
Ziua de Cluj (Cluj, Romania)

 My Second University is a most interesting reading, calm, dignified and easy despite the sufferings it is portraying. . . . It is a story that cried out to be told. . . . Stanciu Stroia did not want to live in the deep quagmire of compromise; his icon was the truth and he could not see beyond it. . . . In the midst of all of the blackness, our real, honest-to-goodness hero, stood tall, took the blows, bent, but did not break. . . . My Second University is a story of forgiveness, and it provides insight on how to proceed forward. . . . This exceptional story shows us that pride, integrity, and compassion are necessary to carry us through evil times and leave us intact on the other side. . . . The book is easy to read, has an elegant style, and the pictures included are a bridge to the past. . . . My Second University is a timely history of governments and their devastating effects. . . .  It deserves wide distribution in libraries, universities and government archives.” Reviews

Webmaster's Notes:

[1] [2] "It is in the nature of this judicial system that one is condemned not only in innocence but also in ignorance," declares Franz Kafka 's hero (and defendant) in The Trial. Written in 1914, this is one of the most important novels of the twentieth century. It tells the terrifying story of a respectable bank officer who is inexplicably arrested and who must defend himself against an unknown charge. An exercise in the absurd, a prophecy of the excess of bureaucracy or the madness of totalitarianism, Kafka's chilling nightmare has resonated with generations of readers.

[3] "These strips are exactly what they are" said Art Spiegelman about Maus, the story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father’s experience. In an unusual comic-book format, this graphic novel is more than a survivor’s tale; it relates the effects of a tragic event on the victim's later years, and upon the lives of the following generation. Spiegelman received the Pulitzer Prize in 1992.

[4] "All the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth!" noted Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, a Russian novelist, dramatist and historian, who was responsible for thrusting awarness of the Gulag on the non-Soviet world. Drawing on his own incarceration, as well as on evidence from fellow prisoners and Soviet archives, he revealed the entire apparatus of Soviet repression in The Gulag Archipelago. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, Solzhenitsyn was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974. He returned to Russia twenty years later.

Updated by Webmaster: March 5, 2007

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