The Hidden War: A Russian Journalist's Account of the Soviet War in Afghanistan

Artem Borovik, Author Atlantic Monthly Press $19.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-87113-283-3
Borovik, foreign editor of the Soviet weekly Ogonyok , spent a month with Soviet troops in Afghanistan near the end of the 1979-1988 war. His subjective, impressionistic account is of interest mainly for its startling echoes of the American experience in Vietnam: The Soviet soldiers' awed respect for the elusive enemy, their disgust over the waste of lives, their resentment of the harassment accorded returning veterans by an antiwar populace. And like our GIs in Vietnam, these men found solace in rock music, odd garb and drugs. The pathology of the Vietnam war is mirrored also with stories of Soviet atrocities: rape, murder and a My Lai-like massacre of civilians. Borovik summarizes the prevalent theories as to why the Soviets intervened in '79. The most interesting: Moscow's fear that the U.S., expelled from Iran, would attempt to turn Afghanistan into an anti-Soviet outpost. Although in its raw candor the book stands as a manifestation of glasnost , the writing is uneven, often jarring: ``Oh, how harsh is my fate!'' cries one veteran. Photos. Author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Genre: Nonfiction
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