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The Unwomanly Face of War
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The unforgettable oral history of Soviet women's experiences in the Second World War from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

About the Author

Svetlana Alexievich was born in Ivano-Frankivsk in 1948 and has spent most of her life in the Soviet Union and present-day Belarus, with prolonged periods of exile in Western Europe. Starting out as a journalist, she developed her own, distinctive non-fiction genre which brings together a chorus of voices to describe a specific historical moment. Her works include The Unwomanly Face of War (1985), Last Witnesses (1985), Boys in Zinc (1991), Chernobyl Prayer (1997) and Second-Hand Time (2013). She has won many international awards, including the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature for 'her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time'.

Reviews

Extraordinary. . . it would be hard to find a book that feels more important or original. . . Alexievich's strength - and a mark of her own courage - is that she is forever on the lookout for the seemingly inconsequential, almost trivial human moments. . . Her achievement is as breathtaking as the experiences of these women are awe-inspiring -- Viv Groskop * Observer *
An astonishing book, harrowing and life-affirming. It deserves the widest possible readership -- Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train
Magnificent. . . Alexievich doesn't just hear what these women say; she cares about how they speak. . . It's a mark of her exceptional mind that she tries to retain the incomprehensible in any human story -- Gaby Wood * Daily Telegraph Books of the Year *
A must read -- Margaret Atwood
Brilliant -- Kamila Shamsie * Guardian Books of the Year *
A revelation. . . Alexievich's text gives us precious details of the kind that breathe life into history . . . This is a book about emotions as much as it is about facts. It is not a historical document in the accepted sense. . . and yet ultimately, which historical documents are more important than this? -- Lyuba Vinogradova * Financial Times *
Astonishing. . . Her years of meticulous listening, her unobtrusiveness and her ear for the telling detail and the memorable story have made her an exceptional witness to modern times. . . This is oral history at its finest and it is also an essay on the power of memory, on what is remembered and what is forgotten -- Caroline Moorehead * Guardian *
These stories about the women warriors of Mother Russia are a symphony of feminine suffering and strength. . . Read this book. And then read it again -- Gerard DeGroot * The Times *

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