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One Soldier’s War

Submitted by on Monday, 11 May 2009.    706 views No Comment
One Soldier’s War

One Soldier’s War
Writer: Arkady Babchenko, Nick Allen
Translation: Nick Allen
Publisher: Grove Press, 2007
ISBN 0802118607, 9780802118608
395 pages

One Soldier’s War is a visceral and unflinching memoir of a young Russian soldier’s experience in the Chechen wars that brilliantly captures the fear, drudgery, chaos, and brutality of modern combat. An excerpt of the book was hailed by Tibor Fisher in the Guardian as “right up there with Catch-22 and Michael Herr’s Dispatches,” and the book won Russia’s inaugural Debut Prize, which recognizes authors who write “despite, not because of, their life circumstances.” In 1995, Arkady Babchenko was an eighteen-year-old law student in Moscow when he was drafted into the Russian army and sent to Chechnya. It was the beginning of a torturous journey from naïve conscript to hardened soldier that took Babchenko from the front lines of the first Chechen War in 1995 to the second in 1999. He fought in major cities and tiny hamlets, from the bombed-out streets of Grozny to anonymous mountain villages. Babchenko takes the raw and mundane realities of war—the constant cold, hunger, exhaustion, filth, and terror—and twists it into compelling, haunting, and eerily elegant prose. Acclaimed by reviewers around the world, this is a devastating first-person account of war by an extraordinary storyteller.

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