In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine

Tim Judah. Crown/Duggan, $27 (240p) ISBN 978-0-451-49547-1
With this fascinating and often grim portrait of Ukraine, Judah, a journalist who previously covered the Balkan wars, contributes to a greater Western understanding of the country since the Maidan revolution, Russia’s capture of Crimea, and the Russian-backed uprising in the eastern Donbass region in 2014. This work stands out by splitting the difference between a purely journalistic account and a scholarly analysis. Judah offers a compassionate human view of these conflicts, mixing personal stories, history, politics, and reportage to document “what Ukraine is really like and what its people have to say.” He travels through the country’s distinct regions and shares anecdotes from a number of people he encounters there, including academics, government officials, teachers, doctors, and more colorful characters such as a “turbocharged” 59-year-old zookeeper and an 87-year-old “bomb shelter poet.” Judah describes a vast, complex society in the midst of an uncertain, frozen conflict, and a country rife with corruption, political and ethnic divisions, and misinformation. Despite clearly evident splits in loyalties and a wide range of opinions on the current situation, ordinary people are often more concerned with their immediate needs than geopolitical struggles. Judah’s special and timely book will provide lay readers with an apt introduction to Ukraine, and specialists will appreciate its atypical yet enlightening approach and its insights into the social aspects of ongoing conflicts. Maps & photos. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/2016
Release date: 10/11/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 260 pages - 978-0-241-19882-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-68168-284-6
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-14-198108-6
Ebook - 978-0-451-49549-5
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