Harborfields Public Library
* 2022 Young Lions Fiction Award, Finalist.
* VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, Longlist.
* An ABA "Indie Next List" pick for November 2021.
* "A Best Book of 2021" --New York Public Library, Cosmopolitan, Independent Book Review
* "October 2021 Must-Reads" --Debutiful, The Chicago Review of Books, The Millions
In 1913, a Russian ballet incited a riot in Paris at the new Théâtre de Champs-Elysées. "Only a Russian could do that," says Aleksandr Ivanovich. "Only a Russian could make the whole world go mad."
A century later, in November 2013, thousands of Ukrainian citizens gathered at Independence Square in Kyiv to protest then-President Yanukovych's failure to sign a referendum with the European Union, opting instead to forge a closer alliance with President Vladimir Putin and Russia. The peaceful protests turned violent when military police shot live ammunition into the crowd, killing over a hundred civilians.
I Will Die in a Foreign Land follows four individuals over the course of a volatile Ukrainian winter, as their lives are forever changed by the Euromaidan protests. Katya is an Ukrainian-American doctor stationed at a makeshift medical clinic in St. Michael's Monastery; Misha is an engineer originally from Pripyat, who has lived in Kyiv since his wife's death; Slava is a fiery young activist whose past hardships steel her determination in the face of persecution; and Aleksandr Ivanovich, a former KGB agent, who climbs atop a burned-out police bus at Independence Square and plays the piano.
As Katya, Misha, Slava, and Aleksandr's lives become intertwined, they each seek their own solace during an especially tumultuous and violent period. The story is also told by a chorus of voices that incorporates folklore and narrates a turbulent Slavic history.
While unfolding an especially moving story of quiet beauty and love in a time of terror, I Will Die in a Foreign Land is an ambitious, intimate, and haunting portrait of human perseverance and empathy.
"Kalani Pickhart's timely debut novel, I Will Die In a Foreign Land, is about the 2014 Ukrainian revolution which provided a pretense for Russia to annex Crimea. The story follows the experiences of several characters whose lives intersect as the country's political situation deteriorates. There's a Ukrainian-American doctor, an old KGB spy, a former mine worker, and others, and these episodes are interspersed with folk songs, news reports and historical notes. The effect--kaleidoscopic but never confusing--provides an intimate sense of a country convulsing, mourning, and somehow surviving."
--CBS News, "The Book Report: Recommendations from Washington Post critic Ron Charles"
(Watch the full video on CBS News, February 6, 2022).
Out of the impoverished coal regions of Ukraine known as the Donbass, where Russian secret military intervention coexists with banditry and insurgency, the women of Yevgenia Belorusets's captivating collection of stories emerge from the ruins of a war, still being waged on and off, ever since the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. Through a series of unexpected encounters, we are pulled into the ordinary lives of these anonymous women: a florist, a cosmetologist, card players, readers of horoscopes, the unemployed, and a witch who catches newborns with a mitt. One refugee tries unsuccessfully to leave her broken umbrella behind as if it were a sick relative; a private caregiver in a disputed zone saves her elderly charge from the angel of death; a woman sits down on International Women's Day and can no longer stand up; a soldier decides to marry war. Belorusets threads these tales of ebullient survival with a mix of humor, verisimilitude, the undramatic, and a profound Gogolian irony. She also weaves in twenty-three photographs that, in lyrical and historical counterpoint, form their own remarkable visual narrative.
The stunning story of Russia's slide back into a dictatorship-and how the West is now paying the price for allowing it to happen.
The ascension of Vladimir Putin-a former lieutenant colonel of the KGB-to the presidency of Russia in 1999 was a strong signal that the country was headed away from democracy. Yet in the intervening years-as America and the world's other leading powers have continued to appease him-Putin has grown not only into a dictator but an internationalthreat. With his vast resources and nuclear arsenal, Putin is at the center of a worldwide assault on political liberty and the modern world order.
For Garry Kasparov, none of this is news. He has been a vocal critic of Putin for over a decade, even leading the pro-democracy opposition to him in the farcical 2008 presidential election. Yet years of seeing his Cassandra-like prophecies about Putin's intentions fulfilled have left Kasparov with a darker truth: Putin's Russia, like ISIS or Al Qaeda, defines itself in opposition to the free countries of the world.
As Putin has grown ever more powerful, the threat he poses has grown from local to regional and finally to global. In this urgent book, Kasparov shows that the collapse of the Soviet Union was not an endpoint-only a change of seasons, as the Cold War melted into a new spring. But now, after years of complacency and poor judgment, winter is once again upon us.
Argued with the force of Kasparov's world-class intelligence, conviction, and hopes for his home country, Winter Is Coming reveals Putin for what he is: an existential danger hiding in plain sight.
As in many postcommunist states, politics in Ukraine revolves around the issue of national identity. Ukrainian nationalists see themselves as one of the world’s oldest and most civilized peoples, as “older brothers” to the younger Russian culture.Yet Ukraine became independent only in 1991, and Ukrainians often feel like a minority in their own country, where Russian is still the main language heard on the streets of the capital, Kiev. This book is a comprehensive guide to modern Ukraine and to the versions of its past propagated by both Russians and Ukrainians. Andrew Wilson provides the most acute, informed, and up-to-date account available of the Ukrainians and their country.
Concentrating on the complex relation between Ukraine and Russia, the book begins with the myth of common origin in the early medieval era, then looks closely at the Ukrainian experience under the tsars and Soviets, the experience of minorities in the country, and the path to independence in 1991. Wilson also considers the history of Ukraine since 1991 and the continuing disputes over identity, culture, and religion. He examines the economic collapse under the first president, Leonid Kravchuk, and the attempts at recovery under his successor, Leonid Kuchma. Wilson explores the conflicts in Ukrainian society between the country’s Eurasian roots and its Western aspirations, as well as the significance of the presidential election of November 1999.
"[A] hilarious and heartbreaking story of a Jewish family's escape from oppression."--The New York Times
A compelling story of two intertwined journeys: a Jewish refugee family fleeing persecution and a young man seeking to reclaim a shattered past. In the twilight of the Cold War (the late 1980s), nine-year old Lev Golinkin and his family cross the Soviet border with only ten suitcases, $600, and the vague promise of help awaiting in Vienna. Years later, Lev, now an American adult, sets out to retrace his family's long trek, locate the strangers who fought for his freedom, and in the process, gain a future by understanding his past.
Lev Golinkin's memoir is the vivid, darkly comic, and poignant story of a young boy in the confusing and often chilling final decade of the Soviet Union. It's also the story of Lev Golinkin, the American man who finally confronts his buried past by returning to Austria and Eastern Europe to track down the strangers who made his escape possible . . . and say thank you. Written with biting, acerbic wit and emotional honesty in the vein of Gary Shteyngart, Jonathan Safran Foer, and David Bezmozgis, Golinkin's search for personal identity set against the relentless currents of history is more than a memoir--it's a portrait of a lost era. This is a thrilling tale of escape and survival, a deeply personal look at the life of a Jewish child caught in the last gasp of the Soviet Union, and a provocative investigation into the power of hatred and the search for belonging. Lev Golinkin achieves an amazing feat--and it marks the debut of a fiercely intelligent, defiant, and unforgettable new voice.
A New York Times Best Book of the Year
A Time Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence Winner
From journalist Adam Higginbotham, the New York Times bestselling “account that reads almost like the script for a movie” (The Wall Street Journal)—a powerful investigation into Chernobyl and how propaganda, secrecy, and myth have obscured the true story of one of the history’s worst nuclear disasters.
Early in the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded, triggering one of the twentieth century’s greatest disasters. In the thirty years since then, Chernobyl has become lodged in the collective nightmares of the world: shorthand for the spectral horrors of radiation poisoning, for a dangerous technology slipping its leash, for ecological fragility, and for what can happen when a dishonest and careless state endangers its citizens and the entire world. But the real story of the accident, clouded from the beginning by secrecy, propaganda, and misinformation, has long remained in dispute.
Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs, and documents from recently-declassified archives, Adam Higginbotham brings the disaster to life through the eyes of the men and women who witnessed it firsthand. The result is a “riveting, deeply reported reconstruction” (Los Angeles Times) and a definitive account of an event that changed history: a story that is more complex, more human, and more terrifying than the Soviet myth.
“The most complete and compelling history yet” (The Christian Science Monitor), Higginbotham’s “superb, enthralling, and necessarily terrifying...extraordinary” (The New York Times) book is an indelible portrait of the lessons learned when mankind seeks to bend the natural world to his will—lessons which, in the face of climate change and other threats, remain not just vital but necessary.
Historical perspective on the republics that once made up the Soviet Union and the choices and challenges that have shaped where they are today is the focus of The Former Soviet Union: Then and Now. All books in the series examine important political, economic, and cultural events during the Soviet period and since the Soviet Union's collapse. Challenges that lie ahead are also explored. Quotes from recognized experts, respected news organizations, and other knowledgeable sources add depth and perspective to the text as do maps, sidebars, and key facts. Book jacket.
AN ECONOMIST BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag and the National Book Award finalist Iron Curtain, a revelatory history of one of Stalin's greatest crimes--the consequences of which still resonate today
In 1929 Stalin launched his policy of agricultural collectivization--in effect a second Russian revolution--which forced millions of peasants off their land and onto collective farms. The result was a catastrophic famine, the most lethal in European history. At least five million people died between 1931 and 1933 in the USSR. But instead of sending relief the Soviet state made use of the catastrophe to rid itself of a political problem. In Red Famine, Anne Applebaum argues that more than three million of those dead were Ukrainians who perished not because they were accidental victims of a bad policy but because the state deliberately set out to kill them.
Applebaum proves what has long been suspected: after a series of rebellions unsettled the province, Stalin set out to destroy the Ukrainian peasantry. The state sealed the republic's borders and seized all available food. Starvation set in rapidly, and people ate anything: grass, tree bark, dogs, corpses. In some cases, they killed one another for food. Devastating and definitive, Red Famine captures the horror of ordinary people struggling to survive extraordinary evil.
Today, Russia, the successor to the Soviet Union, has placed Ukrainian independence in its sights once more. Applebaum's compulsively readable narrative recalls one of the worst crimes of the twentieth century, and shows how it may foreshadow a new threat to the political order in the twenty-first.
The acclaimed author of Sovietistan travels along the seemingly endless Russian border and reveals the deep and pervasive influence it has had across half the globe.
Imperial, communist or autocratic, Russia has been—and remains—a towering and intimidating neighbor. Whether it is North Korea in the Far East through the former Soviet republics in Asia and the Caucasus, or countries on the Caspian Ocean and the Black Sea. What would it be like to traverse the entirety of the Russian periphery to examine its effects on those closest to her?
An astute and brilliant combination of lyric travel writing and modern history, The Border is a book about Russia without its author ever entering Russia itself. Fatland gets to the heart of what it has meant to be the neighbor of that mighty, expanding empire throughout history. As we follow Fatland on her journey, we experience the colorful, exciting, tragic and often unbelievable histories of these bordering nations along with their cultures, their people, their landscapes.
Sharply observed and wholly absorbing, The Border is a surprising new way to understand a broad part our world.
From one of the finest journalists of our time comes a definitive, boots-on-the-ground dispatch from the front lines of the conflict in Ukraine.
Ever since Ukraine's violent 2014 revolution, followed by Russia's annexation of Crimea, the country has been at war. Misinformation reigns, more than two million people have been displaced, and Ukrainians fight one another on a second front--the crucial war against corruption.
With In Wartime, Tim Judah lays bare the events that have turned neighbors against one another and mired Europe's second-largest country in a conflict seemingly without end.
In Lviv, Ukraine's western cultural capital, mothers tend the graves of sons killed on the other side of the country. On the Maidan, the square where the protests that deposed President Yanukovych began, pamphleteers, recruiters, buskers, and mascots compete for attention. In Donetsk, civilians who cheered Russia's President Putin find their hopes crushed as they realize they have been trapped in the twilight zone of a frozen conflict.
Judah talks to everyone from politicians to poets, pensioners, and historians. Listening to their clashing explanations, he interweaves their stories to create a sweeping, tragic portrait of a country fighting a war of independence from Russia--twenty-five years after the collapse of the USSR.
After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear explosion in Ukraine, scientists believed radiation had created a vast and barren wasteland in which life could never resurface. But the Dead Zone, as the contaminated area is known, doesn't look dead at all. In fact, wildlife seems to be thriving there. The Zone is home to beetles, swallows, catfish, mice, voles, otters, beavers, wild boar, foxes, lynx, deer, moose?even brown bears and wolves. Yet the animals in the Zone are not quite what you'd expect. Every single one of them is radioactive.
In Chernobyl's Wild Kingdom, you'll meet the international scientists investigating the Zone's wildlife and trying to answer difficult questions: Have some animals adapted to living with radiation? Or is the radioactive environment harming them in ways we can't see or that will only show up in future generations? Learn more about the fascinating ongoing research?and the debates that surround the findings?in one of the most dangerous places on Earth.
Is America in a new Cold War with Russia? How does a new Cold War affect the safety and security of the United States? Does Vladimir Putin really want to destabilize the West? What should Donald Trump and America’s allies do?
America is in a new Cold War with Russia even more dangerous than the one the world barely survived in the twentieth century. The Soviet Union is gone, but the two nuclear superpowers are again locked in political and military confrontations, now from Ukraine to Syria. All of this is exacerbated by Washington’s war-like demonizing of the Kremlin leadership and by Russiagate’s unprecedented allegations. US mainstream media accounts are highly selective and seriously misleading. American “disinformation,” not only Russian, is a growing peril.
In War With Russia?, Stephen F. Cohen—the widely acclaimed historian of Soviet and post-Soviet Russia—gives readers a very different, dissenting narrative of this more dangerous new Cold War from its origins in the 1990s, the actual role of Vladimir Putin, and the 2014 Ukrainian crisis to Donald Trump’s election and today’s unprecedented Russiagate allegations. Topics include:
Cohen’s views have made him, it is said, “America’s most controversial Russia expert.” Some say this to denounce him, others to laud him as a bold, highly informed critic of US policies and the dangers they have helped to create.
War With Russia? gives readers a chance to decide for themselves who is right: are we living, as Cohen argues, in a time of unprecedented perils at home and abroad?