Doukhobor Writer Publishes Major Book in May 2003:
Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers’ Strategies for Living

by Koozma J. Tarasoff, Ottawa, Canada, August, 2003

Koozma J. Tarasoff took his new book on the road for 7-weeks in May and June to do Readings, Signings, and Promotions in Western Canada.

Logging in some 13,000 kilometers [8,078 miles], Koozma personally delivered books to customers en route (and mailed others from Ottawa), met them first hand, autographed the books, and thanked his supporters for making it possible to help finance this very expensive $100,000 book project with a CD-ROM.

When the government refused to provide any funding, Koozma went to the people for pre-publication sales; the response showed trust that 400 books were purchased before the product came out. As well there were others (such as Bill Kanigan, Florence and Any Markin, Bill Perehudoff) who donated funds for the venture. Co-publisher Leonard Sbrocchi was most generous when he agreed to pay all of the printing costs. Developer Ron Mahonin and his team agreed to provide a quality product and have contributed hundreds of hours of expertise to complete it. Others sent articles and photographs to illustrate the book. In brief, this was a co-operative venture of many peoples!

In his travels, many friends and acquaintances hosted Koozma, which was an indication that the hospitality ethic of the Doukhobors is alive and well. People (Doukhobors and non-Doukhobors) went out of their way to help organize the events, at times bringing with them choirs to help set the stage for his Readings. Salmo Librarian, June Stockdale, coordinated readings in five interior BC libraries. Elmer and Marilyn Verigin of Castlegar opened their residence to Koozma and made him feel at home. Bill Anatooskin of Burnaby, BC was able to get Koozma on the prestigious Rafe Mair show on CKNW in Vancouver; Mair had read the book in advance and for 25 minutes allowed Koozma to discuss the Doukhobor pioneers before an estimated audience of 100,000. When the interview was over, Mair asked him to autograph the book for him. This was a highlight of Koozma's visit to Vancouver. Bill also got him to do Readings in Chapters, Timeless Books at Westminster Quay Public Market, and a short interview on CBC Radio program “BC Almanac”. As a pioneer himself and a master chef, “Uncle Bill” and his wife Jackie often treated Koozma with tasty gourmet meals. As Koozma exclaimed, “What else can one ask for?”

Koozma had the pleasure of attending and participating in the Unity Meeting in Delta, BC as well as do a Reading at the Annual Father’s Day Picnic and Molenye [Prayer] in Ladner, BC. The response here and elsewhere was positive and enthusiastic. The full colour 500-page book on fine art paper and hard cover brought rave reviews. The editor of Kamsack Times published a full-page illustrated review. Saskatoon Star-Phoenix did the same.

John J. Verigin Sr., Honourary Chairman of the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ, read the book and described it “as the best encyclopedia on the Doukhobors” that he has ever read.

At Koozma’s Readings, people appreciated being reminded about our brave and resourceful pioneers who have made a difference in our lives. Too often we have neglected them until they have died. The time is now to acknowledge and respect them for their valued contributions to society. The book is the right one for our times.

Jon-Lee Kootnekoff of Penticton, BC wrote: “A hearty congratulations to you. What a beautiful, entertaining, colorful, educational and inspirational masterpiece. Reading Spiritual Wrestlers is a mystical experience on its own; it is an exceptional well-researched and well-written strategy for living life more abundantly.”

David Meakin of Regina, Sask. wrote: “There have been many great comments on your work. Keep up the good work! I don’t know if anyone has told you, but you’re becoming a legend in the Doukhobor community through your many years of dedication.”

Dr. Glenn D. Paige (President of Center for Global Nonviolence, Honolulu, Hawaii) described the book as follows: “What a happy surprise to receive yesterday a copy of the classic Spirit Wrestlers: Doukhobor Pioneers’ Strategies for Living. A wonderful fruit of many years labor of love. Congratulations to you and to all of your marvelous contributors. What a solid contribution to world understanding of Doukhobor culture and history. Your section on debunking myths is a great tool for education. The photographs speak powerfully to the realities of Toil and Peaceful Life. How greatly I admire all those pioneers of a nonviolent future world. If extra copies from the print run are available, I would like to purchase two gift copies for the following nonviolent CGNV Associates who can help build the Doukhobor-Gandhi bridge”.

Dr. Paige’s wonderful book Nonkilling Global Political Science (first published in India in 2002) has already been translated into nine languages and arrangements are in process for a Russian translation in St. Petersburg. Paige’s book is posted free with six other books on nonviolence at the CGNV website: Paper and hardbound copies can be obtained from, and ordered through bookstores.

As author/co-publisher, Koozma Tarasoff plans to promote the book further particularly at universities and libraries. As well, a multi-media CD-ROM is currently in the making and will include everything that is in the book plus audio and video supports. Hopefully it will be released in September and will be mailed to those who pre-purchased the book. Separate copies can be ordered for $30 plus applicable taxes and postage.

It is the author's hope that the stories of our pioneers will inspire the readers to make use of the lessons of hard work, creativity, hospitality, and civility that characterizes many of them. 'Read, learn, and be part of this noble process of enriching our lives', he writes.

Koozma's book can be purchased at the Doukhobor Museums in Castlegar, BC or Verigin, Saskatchewan. Or it can be ordered directly from Koozma at Spirit Wrestlers Publishing, 882 Walkley Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1V 6R5. Price: $89.95 plus applicable taxes and postage. Email: See excerpt: "Popular Myths or Fallacies about the Doukhobors" at

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