cover image 83 Days in Mariupol: A War Diary

83 Days in Mariupol: A War Diary

Don Brown. Clarion, $22.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-06-331156-5

Brown (In the Shadow of the Fallen Towers) urgently captures the harsh realities of the war in Ukraine in this viscerally illustrated work. Via a brief prologue, Brown explains the complicated, thousand-year history of the former Slavic kingdom that was once the “cradle for both Ukraine and Russia,” and asserts as false Russian president Vladimir Putin’s claims that he was defending Russian peoples from “being terrorized... for the denazification of Ukraine.” In a rapidly paced first chapter, Brown details how, on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, Ukrainians woke to widespread bombing throughout the nation, most heavily in the Russian border region of Donbas. While many managed to flee to safety, numerous residents of Mariupol were trapped by Russian forces. Subsequent chapters read as a war diary that outlines the 83-day occupation of Mariupol, as Ukrainian soldiers and residents combat the Russian military. This siege, Brown writes, would later serve as a “rallying cry of a people’s resolve.” Brown pulls no punches in this harrowing portrayal of the brutal violence and suffering endured by Mariupol’s citizens, depicting sexual assault as well as a lack of food, water, heat, electricity, and medical care in loosely detailed, sketchlike illustrations washed in charcoal. Ages 14–up. (May)