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 Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs, and documents from recently-declassified archives, Adam Higginbotham brings the disaster to life through the eyes of the men and women who witnessed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.
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.
If the Balkans hadn't existed, they would have been invented was the verdict of Count Hermann Keyserling in his famous 1928 publication, Europe. Over ten years ago, Maria Todorova traced the relationship between the reality and the invention. Based on a rich selection of travelogues, diplomatic accounts, academic surveys, journalism, and belles-lettres in many languages, Imagining the Balkans explored the ontology of the Balkans from the sixteenth century to the present day, uncovering the ways in which an insidious intellectual tradition was constructed, became mythologized, and is still being transmitted as discourse.Maria Todorova, who was raised in the Balkans, is in a unique position to bring both scholarship and sympathy to her subject, and in a new afterword she reflects on recent developments in the study of the Balkans and political developments on the ground since the publication of Imagining the Balkans. The afterword explores the controversy over Todorova's coining of the term Balkanism. With this work, Todorova offers a timely, updated, accessible study of how an innocent geographic appellation was transformed into one of the most powerful and widespread pejorative designations in modern history.
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.
Leading specialists explore the impact both perestroika and glasnost have had on Soviet women as workers, consumers and political actors. They discuss the implications of reform for female labor, the falling percentage of female deputies and the position of women in the Ukraine. The authors also show how glasnost had helped to expose social problems while at the same time obscuring the role of girls in youth culture, creating images of irresponsible mothers and leading to the spread of pornography and anti-abortion sentiments.
This book seeks to identify the motivations of individual perpetrators of ethnic violence. The work develops four models gleaned from existing social science literatures: Fear, Hatred, Resentment, and Rage. The empirical chapters apply the models to important events involving ethnic conflict in Eastern Europe, from the 1905 Russian Revolution to the 1990's collapse of Yugoslavia. Each historical chapter generates questions about the timing and target of ethnic violence. The four models are then applied to determine which is most effective in explaining the observed patterns of ethnic conflict.
Joseph Roth, best known as the author of the novel The Radetzky March and the nonfiction work The Wandering Jews, was one of the most seductive, disturbing, and enigmatic writers of the twentieth century. Born in 1894 in the Habsburg Empire in what is now Ukraine and dying in Paris in 1939, he was a perpetually displaced person, a traveler, a prophet, a compulsive liar, and a man who covered his tracks. Throughout the eastern borderlands of Europe, Dennis Marks explores the spiritual geography of a still-neglected master and uncovers the truth about Roth's lost world.
Thomas Buergenthal, now a Judge in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, tells his astonishing experiences as a young boy in his memoir A Lucky Child. He arrived at Auschwitz at age 10 after surviving two ghettos and a labor camp. Separated first from his mother and then his father, Buergenthal managed by his wits and some remarkable strokes of luck to survive on his own. Almost two years after his liberation, Buergenthal was miraculously reunited with his mother and in 1951 arrived in the U.S. to start a new life.Now dedicated to helping those subjected to tyranny throughout the world, Buergenthal writes his story with a simple clarity that highlights the stark details of unimaginable hardship. A Lucky Child is a book that demands to be read by all.
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.