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Last Witnesses
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Stunning stories about what it was like to be a Soviet child during the upheaval and horror of the Second World War, from Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich.

About the Author

Svetlana Alexievich was born in Ivano-Frankivsk in 1948 and has spent most of her life in the Soviet Union and present-day Belarus, with prolonged periods of exile in Western Europe. Starting out as a journalist, she developed her own, distinctive non-fiction genre which brings together a chorus of voices to describe a specific historical moment. Her works include The Unwomanly Face of War (1985), Last Witnesses (1985), Boys in Zinc (1991), Chernobyl Prayer (1997) and Second-Hand Time (2013). She has won many international awards, including the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature for 'her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time'.

Reviews

A masterpiece of clear-eyed humility. . . Alexievich is the most inspired and inspiring of all Nobel prize winners, a genuine bearer of witness -- Tim Adams * Observer *
Astonishing. . . Like the great Russian novels, these testimonials ring with emotional truth. . . Few people have ever conjured better the pain of loss -- Caroline Moorehead * Guardian *
An antidote to nostalgic World War II narratives. . . Breathtaking, occasionally unbearably sad. Svetlana Alexievich is in a class of her own -- Paula Hawkins
Svetlana Alexievich is quite simply the greatest practitioner of oral history ever known. She is unique -- Antony Beevor
A major work by one of our greatest living historians. . . a profound, revelatory book. Through an artfully crafted and sincerely empathetic technique of enticing, soothing, and teasing out - gentle, unobtrusive, knowing when to encourage and when to let a pause run its course - Alexievich uncovers some of the most evocative war stories ever published -- Jane Graham * Big Issue *
These stories demand to be read -- Gerard DeGroot * The Times *
If God existed, or had an ear, she might listen the way Svetlana Alexievich does to the stories of her fellow ex-Soviets. . . These stories have a hallucinatory clarity, like visions or nightmares-except they are made simply from the stuff of life -- John Freeman * Lit Hub *
Last Witnesses sheds light on aspects of the war involving millions of ordinary Soviet citizens that will be unknown to most Western readers. . . Alexievich's method is to trim and rearrange oral testimony into concise and vivid prose -- Kathleen Smith * Literary Review *
The experience of reading these thousands of human confessions has an astonishingly powerful impact -- Gaby Wood * Daily Telegraph *
A masterly and potent reminder that the memory of loss belongs to individuals and communities, and not to the states that turn its psychic energy to other ends -- Kevin Platt * TLS *
An important historical document. . . offers a harrowing picture of the lives of Russian children caught up in Hitler's invasion on the Eastern Front -- Ian Thomson * Evening Standard *
Svetlana Alexievich's books go as deep as the soul of woman can go. And now she investigates the soul in the agonized process of historical formation -- Geoff Dyer
This new translation will no doubt leave another huge impression on this new generation of readers * Bustle *

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