The unwomanly face of war : an oral history of women in World War II

by Aleksievich, Svetlana, 1948-

Format: Print Book 2017
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A long-awaited English translation of the groundbreaking oral history of women in World War II across Europe and Russia--from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

The Washington Post * The Guardian * NPR * The Economist * Milwaukee Journal Sentinel * Kirkus Reviews

For more than three decades, Svetlana Alexievich has been the memory and conscience of the twentieth century. When the Swedish Academy awarded her the Nobel Prize, it cited her invention of "a new kind of literary genre," describing her work as "a history of emotions . . . a history of the soul."

In The Unwomanly Face of War, Alexievich chronicles the experiences of the Soviet women who fought on the front lines, on the home front, and in the occupied territories. These women--more than a million in total--were nurses and doctors, pilots, tank drivers, machine-gunners, and snipers. They battled alongside men, and yet, after the victory, their efforts and sacrifices were forgotten.

Alexievich traveled thousands of miles and visited more than a hundred towns to record these women's stories. Together, this symphony of voices reveals a different aspect of the war--the everyday details of life in combat left out of the official histories.

Translated by the renowned Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, The Unwomanly Face of War is a powerful and poignant account of the central conflict of the twentieth century, a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human side of war.

"for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time."

"A landmark." --Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century

"An astonishing book, harrowing and life-affirming . . . It deserves the widest possible readership." --Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

"Alexievich has gained probably the world's deepest, most eloquent understanding of the post-Soviet condition. . . . [She] has consistently chronicled that which has been intentionally forgotten." --Masha Gessen, National Book Award-winning author of The Future Is History
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Unlike other Allied powers in WWII, the Soviet Union utilized many women in combat roles. Most served away from the front on farms and in factories and hospitals, but thousands fought as partisans or with regular combat units. Nobel laureate Alexievich (Secondhand Time, 2016) created this riveting oral history in 1985, and it retains its eloquence and often-shocking power in its first English translation. Alexievich gathered these memories, emotions, and hopes shattered and fulfilled from a variety of former female soldiers. She acknowledges that she and her generation face an unbridgeable gulf between themselves and those who directly endured the daily savagery of the war. Indeed, a few of these women seethe with resentment at chroniclers who ignore their heroism. Others attempt to honestly convey their experiences, and their tales are moving and disturbing. Some recall, shamefully, the joy they felt as captured Germans were mistreated. A partisan calmly recalls the necessary drowning of her infant after giving birth. This is painful but worthwhile reading, especially as the number of living veterans of the war dwindles.--Freeman, Jay Copyright 2017 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Speaking with Slavic accents, narrators Emelin and Shmulenson divvy up the many stories of Soviet women serving in the military and resistance movements of World War II in the audio edition of this English translation of Nobel Prize-winner Alexievich's oral history. There are chilling tales of girls witnessing-and perpetrating-atrocities and then wondering how they will be able to return home and have families of their own. And there are stories of sharpshooters, surgeons, and scouts performing heroically but worrying about their femininity and even their humanity. While the audio format is seemingly a natural fit for an oral history, it's easy to lose track of individuals in the accounts of hundreds of women. Emelin and Shmulenson do their best to provide unique voices for different women and they state the name of each before reading her story, but listeners can't refer back to those names as easily as readers could. While the book presents numerous women's experiences in the war, the stories start to blend together with only two actors providing the voices of hundreds of women. A Random House hardcover. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects World War, 1939-1945 -- Women -- Soviet Union.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, Russian.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Participation, Female.
Women and war -- Soviet Union.
Personal narratives.
Publisher New York :Random House,2017
Edition First edition.
Other Titles U voĭny--ne zhenskoe lit͡so--.
Contributors Pevear, Richard, 1943- translator.
Volokhonsky, Larissa, translator.
Language English
Description xliii, 331 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9780399588723
Other Classic View