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Ukrainian History and Conflict

In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine by Tim Judah

In Wartime book cover“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.”

—from the publisher


The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine by Serhii Plokhy

The Gates of Europe book cover“Ukraine is currently embroiled in a tense battle with Russia to preserve its economic and political independence. But today’s conflict is only the latest in a long history of battles over Ukraine’s existence as a sovereign nation. As award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues in The Gates of Europe, we must examine Ukraine’s past in order to understand its fraught present and likely future.”

—from the publisher


Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Appelbaum

Red Famine book cover“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 …”

—from the publisher


 

Ukrainian Literature That Has Been Translated Into English

Read the eBooks below on Hoopla Digital.

Absolute Zero by Artem Chekh

“The book is a first person account of a soldier’s journey, and is based on Artem Chekh’s diary that he wrote while and after his service in the war in Donbas. One of the most important messages the book conveys is that war means pain. Chekh is not showing the reader any heroic combat, focusing instead on the quiet, mundane, and harsh soldier’s life. Chekh masterfully selects the most poignant details of this kind of life.”

—from the publisher


 

Life Went on Anyway by Oleg Sentsov

“The stories in Ukrainian film director, writer, and dissident Oleg Sentsov’s debut collection are as much acts of dissent as they are acts of creative expression. These autobiographical stories display a mix of nostalgia and philosophical insight, written in a simple yet profound style looking back on a life’s path that led Sentsov to become an internationally renowned dissident artist.”

—from the publisher


 

Books by Writers from Ukraine

Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky

Deaf Republic book coverA poem from Deaf Republic, “We Lived Happily During the War,”  went viral after Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. Ilya Kaminsky, who lost most of his hearing as a child, was born in Odessa in 1977 and emigrated to the United States in 1993. Deaf Republic is an award-winning parable-in-poems that is organized like a play in two acts. Though the time, country, and war are unnamed, it is impossible not to see echoes of the current war in its story.

In the second poem, the town is watching an outdoor puppet show when soldiers sweep in, telling the crowd to disperse. Everyone does as they’re told except Petya, a deaf boy who is shot dead for spitting at a soldier. The boy’s death sparks an insurgency of deafness: “Our country woke up the next morning,” Kaminsky writes, “and refused to hear soldiers.”


Mamushka: A Cookbook by Olia Hercules

Mamushka book cover“Olia Hercules was born in Ukraine and lived in Cyprus for several years before moving to London and becoming a chef. In this gorgeous and deeply personal cookbook, she shares her favorite recipes from her home country with engaging and loving stories about her culinary upbringing and family traditions.”

“Featuring personality and panache, Mamushka showcases the cuisine from Ukraine and beyond, weaving together vibrant food with descriptive narratives and stunning lifestyle photography.”

—from the publisher


A Backpack, A Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka: A Memoir by Lev Golinkin

A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka book cover“In the twilight of the Cold War (the late 1980s), nine-year old Lev Golinkin and his family cross the Soviet border, leaving Ukraine 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.”

—from the publisher


Videos Available on Kanopy

Learn more about Ukraine and Russia with documentaries, history courses, and films from Kanopy. Sign up to get started.

Conflict in Ukraine, a selection of videos available in Kanopy. Click the link to check out the videos.