Victoria Clark has the mind of a historian and the eye for detail possessed by the best novelists. In "Why Angels Fall, " she combines her gifts to give the reader a look at the sometimes mysterious world of Eastern Europe's Orthodox church. Majestic in their gilt encrusted robes and mitres, the Orthodox churchmen of Europe do convey a mysterious and arcane image. Combining history with contemporary detail, Clark traces the Orthodox faith through the embattled and fading world of late Byzantium to the present. Journeying through Greece, Russia, Macedonia, Romania, Cyprus, and the former Yugoslavia, Clark has met monks, nuns, bishops, and archbishops. Within a religion that traditionally has not accorded full status to women, Clark visits places that women have rarely been allowed to visit and asks questions that women have never before asked. Clark reveals an altogether different but equally engaging European legacy of worship with far-reaching consequences.
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was created in a surge of revolutionary self-determination that rejected both the free-market-Capitalism of Europe, and the bureaucratic-Socialism of the Soviet Union. Yet this early experimentation and dynamism ultimately gave way to the same sclerotic state-system its creators were trying to avoid. In this engaging treatise, Suvin seeks out the source of this failure.
An NYRB Classics OriginalFew writers had to confront as many of the last century's mass tragedies as Vasily Grossman, who wrote with terrifying clarity about the Shoah, the Battle of Stalingrad, and the Terror Famine in the Ukraine. An Armenian Sketchbook, however, shows us a very different Grossman, notable for his tenderness, warmth, and sense of fun. After the Soviet government confiscated--or, as Grossman always put it, "arrested"--Life and Fate, he took on the task of revising a literal Russian translation of a long Armenian novel. The novel was of little interest to him, but he needed money and was evidently glad of an excuse to travel to Armenia. An Armenian Sketchbook is his account of the two months he spent there. This is by far the most personal and intimate of Grossman's works, endowed with an air of absolute spontaneity, as though he is simply chatting to the reader about his impressions of Armenia--its mountains, its ancient churches, its people--while also examining his own thoughts and moods. A wonderfully human account of travel to a faraway place, An Armenian Sketchbook also has the vivid appeal of a self-portrait.
In the early hours of New Year's 1994, Russian troops invaded the Republic of Chechnya, plunging the country into a prolonged and bloody conflict that continues to this day. A foreign correspondent in Moscow at the time, Asne Seierstad traveled regularly to Chechnya to report on the war, describing its affects on those trying to live their daily lives amidst violence.
In the following decade, Seierstad became an internationally renowned reporter and author, traveling to the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other war-torn regions. But she never lost sight of this conflict that had initially inspired her career. Over the course of a decade, she watched as Russia ruthlessly suppressed an Islamic rebellion in two bloody wars and as Chechnya evolved into one of the flashpoints in a world now focused on the threat of international terrorism.
In 2006, Seierstad finally returned to Chechnya, traveling in secret and under the constant threat of danger. In a broken and devastated society she lived with orphans, the wounded, the lost. And she lived with the children of Grozny, those who will shape the country's future. She asks the question: What happens to a child who grows up surrounded by war and accustomed to violence?
A compelling, intimate, and often heartbreaking portrait of Chechnya today, The Angel of Grozny is a vivid account of a land's violent history and its ongoing battle for freedom.
The 'Northern Crusades', inspired by the Pope's call for a Holy War, are less celebrated than those in the Middle East, but they were also more successful: vast new territories became and remain Christian, such as Finland, Estonia and Prussia. Newly revised in the light of the recent developments in Baltic and Northern medieval research, this authoritative overview provides a balanced and compelling account of a tumultuous era.
After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these guests, and human names for the animals, it's no wonder that the zoo's code name became The House Under a Crazy Star. Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story--sharing Antonina's life as the zookeeper's wife, while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism. Winner of the 2008 Orion Award.
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.
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category
A monumental work of nonfiction on a wartime atrocity, its sixty-year denial, and the impact of its truth
Jan Gross's hugely controversial Neighbors was a historian's disclosure of the events in the small Polish town of Jedwabne on July 10, 1941, when the citizens rounded up the Jewish population and burned them alive in a barn. The massacre was a shocking secret that had been suppressed for more than sixty years, and it provoked the most important public debate in Poland since 1989. From the outset, Anna Bikont reported on the town, combing through archives and interviewing residents who survived the war period. Her writing became a crucial part of the debate and she herself an actor in a national drama.
Part history, part memoir, The Crime and the Silence is the journalist's account of these events: both the story of the massacre told through oral histories of survivors and witnesses, and a portrait of a Polish town coming to terms with its dark past. Including the perspectives of both heroes and perpetrators, Bikont chronicles the sources of the hatred that exploded against Jews and asks what myths grow on hidden memories, what destruction they cause, and what happens to a society that refuses to accept a horrific truth.
A profoundly moving exploration of being Jewish in modern Poland that Julian Barnes called "one of the most chilling books," The Crime and the Silence is a vital contribution to Holocaust history and a fascinating story of a town coming to terms with its dark past.