New Release Books by Svetlana Alexievich

Svetlana Alexievich is the author of Last Witnesses (Adapted for Young Adults) (2021), In Search of the Free Individual (2018), Voices from Chernobyl (2019), The Unwomanly Face of War (2017) and other 6 books.

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Last Witnesses (Adapted for Young Adults)

release date: Aug 31, 2021
Last Witnesses (Adapted for Young Adults)
A powerful portrait of the personal consequences of war as seen through the innocent eyes of children, from a Nobel Prize-winning writer. Nobel Prize-winning writer Svetlana Alexievich delves into the traumatic memories of children who were separated from their parents during World War II--most of them never to be reunited--in this this young adult adaptation of her acclaimed nonfiction "masterpiece" (The Guardian), Last Witnesses: An Oral History of the Children of WWII. The personal narratives told by those who were children during WWII and survived harrowing experiences, are astounding. So many children were separated from their loved ones in the midst of the terror and chaos. As a result, some grew up in orphanages or were raised by grandparents or extended family; others were taken in and cared for by strangers who risked punishment for such acts. Still others lived on their own or became underage soldiers. Forthright and riveting, these bravely told oral histories of survival reveal the heart-rending details of life during wartime while reminding us that resilience is possible, no matter the circumstances.

In Search of the Free Individual

release date: Jan 15, 2018
In Search of the Free Individual
"I love life in its living form, life that’s found on the street, in human conversations, shouts, and moans." So begins this speech delivered in Russian at Cornell University by Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature. In poetic language, Alexievich traces the origins of her deeply affecting blend of journalism, oral history, and creative writing. Cornell Global Perspectives is an imprint of Cornell University’s Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. The works examine critical global challenges, often from an interdisciplinary perspective, and are intended for a non-specialist audience. The Distinguished Speaker Series presents edited transcripts of talks delivered at Cornell, both in the original language and in translation.

Voices from Chernobyl

release date: Apr 01, 2019
Voices from Chernobyl
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature A journalist by trade, who now suffers from an immune deficiency developed while researching this book, presents personal accounts of what happened to the people of Belarus after the nuclear reactor accident in 1986, and the fear, anger, and uncertainty that they still live with. On April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear reactor accident in history occurred in Chernobyl and contaminated as much as three quarters of Europe. Voices from Chernobyl is the first book to present personal accounts of the tragedy. Journalist Svetlana Alexievich interviewed hundreds of people affected by the meltdown---from innocent citizens to firefighters to those called in to clean up the disaster---and their stories reveal the fear, anger, and uncertainty with which they still live. Comprised of interviews in monologue form, Voices from Chernobyl is a crucially important work, unforgettable in its emotional power and honesty. The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Svetlana Alexievich "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time."

The Unwomanly Face of War

release date: Jul 25, 2017
The Unwomanly Face of War
A long-awaited English translation of the groundbreaking oral history of women in World War II across Europe and Russia—from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • The Guardian • NPR • The Economist • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel • Kirkus Reviews For more than three decades, Svetlana Alexievich has been the memory and conscience of the twentieth century. When the Swedish Academy awarded her the Nobel Prize, it cited her invention of “a new kind of literary genre,” describing her work as “a history of emotions . . . a history of the soul.” In The Unwomanly Face of War, Alexievich chronicles the experiences of the Soviet women who fought on the front lines, on the home front, and in the occupied territories. These women—more than a million in total—were nurses and doctors, pilots, tank drivers, machine-gunners, and snipers. They battled alongside men, and yet, after the victory, their efforts and sacrifices were forgotten. Alexievich traveled thousands of miles and visited more than a hundred towns to record these women’s stories. Together, this symphony of voices reveals a different aspect of the war—the everyday details of life in combat left out of the official histories. Translated by the renowned Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, The Unwomanly Face of War is a powerful and poignant account of the central conflict of the twentieth century, a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human side of war. THE WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.” “A landmark.”—Timothy Snyder, author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century “An astonishing book, harrowing and life-affirming . . . It deserves the widest possible readership.”—Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train “Alexievich has gained probably the world’s deepest, most eloquent understanding of the post-Soviet condition. . . . [She] has consistently chronicled that which has been intentionally forgotten.”—Masha Gessen, National Book Award–winning author of The Future Is History

Secondhand Time

release date: May 24, 2016
Secondhand Time
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A symphonic oral history about the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new Russia, from Svetlana Alexievich, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND PUBLISHERS WEEKLY • LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE WINNER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Wall Street Journal • NPR • Financial Times • Kirkus Reviews When the Swedish Academy awarded Svetlana Alexievich the Nobel Prize, it cited her for inventing “a new kind of literary genre,” describing her work as “a history of emotions—a history of the soul.” Alexievich’s distinctive documentary style, combining extended individual monologues with a collage of voices, records the stories of ordinary women and men who are rarely given the opportunity to speak, whose experiences are often lost in the official histories of the nation. In Secondhand Time, Alexievich chronicles the demise of communism. Everyday Russian citizens recount the past thirty years, showing us what life was like during the fall of the Soviet Union and what it’s like to live in the new Russia left in its wake. Through interviews spanning 1991 to 2012, Alexievich takes us behind the propaganda and contrived media accounts, giving us a panoramic portrait of contemporary Russia and Russians who still carry memories of oppression, terror, famine, massacres—but also of pride in their country, hope for the future, and a belief that everyone was working and fighting together to bring about a utopia. Here is an account of life in the aftermath of an idea so powerful it once dominated a third of the world. A magnificent tapestry of the sorrows and triumphs of the human spirit woven by a master, Secondhand Time tells the stories that together make up the true history of a nation. “Through the voices of those who confided in her,” The Nation writes, “Alexievich tells us about human nature, about our dreams, our choices, about good and evil—in a word, about ourselves.” Praise for Svetlana Alexievich and Secondhand Time “The nonfiction volume that has done the most to deepen the emotional understanding of Russia during and after the collapse of the Soviet Union of late is Svetlana Alexievich’s oral history Secondhand Time.”—David Remnick, The New Yorker

Boys in Zinc

release date: Mar 02, 2017
Boys in Zinc
The haunting history of the Soviet-Afghan War from the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 - A new translation based on the updated text - From 1979 to 1989 Soviet troops engaged in a devastating war in Afghanistan that claimed thousands of casualties on both sides. While the Soviet Union talked about a ''peace-keeping'' mission, the dead were shipped back in sealed zinc coffins. Boys in Zinc presents the honest testimonies of soldiers, doctors and nurses, mothers, wives and siblings who describe the lasting effects of war. Weaving together their stories, Svetlana Alexievich shows us the truth of the Soviet-Afghan conflict: the killing and the beauty of small everyday moments, the shame of returned veterans, the worries of all those left behind. When it was first published in the USSR in 1991, Boys in Zinc sparked huge controversy for its unflinching, harrowing insight into the realities of war.

Second-hand Time

release date: Jan 01, 2016
Second-hand Time
Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich invents a new genre of narrative non-fiction as she writes the life stories of housewives, artists, party workers, students, soldiers, traders, living through a time of political upheaval -- the fall of the Soviet Union and the two decades that followed it.

Chernobyl Prayer

release date: Apr 21, 2016
Chernobyl Prayer
A startling history of the Chernobyl disaster by Svetlana Alexievich, the winner of the Nobel prize in literature 2015 On 26 April 1986, at 1.23am, a series of explosions shook the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. Flames lit up the sky and radiation escaped to contaminate the land and poison the people for years to come. While officials tried to hush up the accident, Svetlana Alexievich spent years collecting testimonies from survivors - clean-up workers, residents, firefighters, resettlers, widows, orphans - crafting their voices into a haunting oral history of fear, anger and uncertainty, but also dark humour and love. A chronicle of the past and a warning for our nuclear future, Chernobyl Prayer shows what it is like to bear witness, and remember in a world that wants you to forget.

Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War

release date: Sep 30, 1992
Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanistan War
Winner of the Nobel Prize: “For her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.” —Swedish Academy, Nobel Prize citation From 1979 to 1989 a million Soviet troops engaged in a devastating war in Afghanistan that claimed 50,000 casualties—and the youth and humanity of many tens of thousands more. Creating controversy and outrage when it was first published in the USSR—it was called by reviewers there a “slanderous piece of fantasy” and part of a “hysterical chorus of malign attacks”—Zinky Boys presents the candid and affecting testimony of the officers and grunts, nurses and prostitutes, mothers, sons, and daughters who describe the war and its lasting effects. What emerges is a story that is shocking in its brutality and revelatory in its similarities to the American experience in Vietnam. The Soviet dead were shipped back in sealed zinc coffins (hence the term “Zinky Boys”), while the state denied the very existence of the conflict. Svetlana Alexievich brings us the truth of the Soviet-Afghan War: the beauty of the country and the savage Army bullying, the killing and the mutilation, the profusion of Western goods, the shame and shattered lives of returned veterans. Zinky Boys offers a unique, harrowing, and unforgettably powerful insight into the realities of war. The introduction has been omitted due to rights issues.
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