Svetlana Alexievich  <<

War's Unwomanly Face 

Published by

Vremya, Russia

Hanser Berlin, Germany

Presses de la Renaissance, France

Wydawnictwo Czarne, Poland

Ersatz, Sweden

Kagge Forlag, Norway

Palomar, Denmark

Región Projekt, Slovakia

Penguin Random House, Spain

Paradox, Bulgaria

Citic, China

Munhakdongne, South Korea

Bompiani, Italy

Patakis Publishers, Greece

Helikon Publishing, Hungary

Antares, Armenia

Tänapäev, Estonia

Intelekti Publishing, Georgia

Iwanami Shoten, Japan

Carobna knjiga, Serbia

Vivat Publishing Ltd., Ukraine

Tao Dan, Vietnam

Rayo Verde Editorial, Spain (Catalan)

Mamdouh Adwan Publishing House, Syria

Fan Noli, Albania

Companhia das Letras, Brazil

De Bezige Bij, The Netherlands

Buzuku, Kosovo

20|20 Editora, Portugal

Grup Media Litera, Romania

Epsilon Yayincilik Ltd., Turkey

Penguin Random House, USA

Penguin Classics, UK 

Qanun Publishing House, Azerbaijan 

Owl Publishing House, Taiwan

Tammi, Finland

Kostova Antolog, Macedonia

Elkar publisher, Spain (Basque)

Alma littera, Lithuania

Green Books, India (Malayalam)

Pistorius & Olsanska, Czech Republic

Lauku Avīze, Latvia

Založba Goga, Slovenia

Folio, Ukraine

During World War II, roughly a million women fought in the Red Army, but their fate has never been recounted. This book assembles the memories of hundreds—they were snipers, drove tanks or worked in field hospitals. Their story is not one of war, not one of combat, but one of men and women in war. What happened to them, how did it change them? What were they afraid of? What was it like to learn how to kill? These women—most for the first time in their lives—tell the story of the non-heroic side of war, which is usually omitted from the stories and memoirs of veterans. They talk about the dirt and the cold, about the hunger and the sexual violence, about anguish and about the ever-present shadow of death. Alexievich lets their voices be heard in her heart-wrenching book. The book was first published in 1985, but the author completely reworked it in 2002, reconstructing passages that had fallen prey to censorship, and introducing new materials that she didn’t dare use at the time.

“Harrowing and moving… Alexievich did an enormous service, recovering these stories… The Unwomanly Face of War tells the story of these forgotten women, and its great achievement is that it gives credit to their contribution but also to the hell they endured.” (Washington Post)

“[A] remarkable collection of testimonies… Sitting at kitchen tables, Alexievich coaxes out of the women stories that describe a reality vastly different from the officially sanctioned version… They speak guardedly but vividly of fleeting encounters, deep relationships, unexpressed feelings.” (The New Yorker)

“A monument to courage… It would be hard to find a book that feels more important or original… Alexievich’s account of the second world war as seen through the eyes of hundreds of women is an extraordinary thing… Her achievement is as breathtaking as the experiences of these women are awe-inspiring.” (The Guardian)

“A revelation… Alexievich’s text gives us precious details of the kind that breathe life into history… In the book, women talk about experiences that no one had written about before Alexievich… As well as showing her readers the war through women’s eyes, Alexievich gives us an idea of how the army women were perceived by society, during the war and afterwards…. These voices, thanks to Alexievich, have themselves become part of history.” (Financial Times)

“Alexievich’s artistry has raised oral history to a totally different dimension. It is no wonder that her brilliant obsession with what Vasily Grossman called ‘the brutal truth of war’ was suppressed for so long by Soviet censors, because her unprecedented pen portraits and interviews reveal the face of war hidden by propaganda.” (Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege)

‘As with her other books, terrifying documentation meets great artfulness of construction’ (Julian Barnes)

'Extraordinary... it would be hard to find a book that feels more important or original... Her achievement is as breath-taking as the experiences of these women are awe-inspiring' (Observer)


‘One of the most heart-breaking books I have ever read… I urge you to read one if not both of these two extraordinary books’ (The Daily Telegraph)

'These stories about the women warriors of Mother Russia are a symphony of feminine suffering and strength... Read this book. And then read it again' (The Times)