#FutursticFriday Review: The Unwomanly Face of War

July 24, 2017 Uncategorized 6 ★★★★★

#FutursticFriday Review: The Unwomanly Face of WarTitle: The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II
Author: Svetlana Alexievich, Richard Pevear, Larissa Volokhonsky
Source: NetGalley

Summary: This was a tough read, but it was amazing to hear emotional, first-hand accounts from women in WWII.

I previously read Nobel Prize-winning, Belarusian journalist, Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl, and I was blown away by that collection of beautiful and moving interviews. The Unwomanly Face of War is a similar collection of interviews with Soviet women who served in WWII and with a few of the men who served with them. Unlike Voices from Chernobyl, this collection includes some commentary from Alexievich explaining how she became interested in this topic and her process for conducting interviews.

As you might imagine, this was an incredibly dark and difficult read. There was minimal sexual violence, but the violence of war was still heartbreaking. War crimes were committed by soldiers on both sides of the conflict and innocent bystanders, including children, were often caught up in the violence. Honestly, I think my mood was a little less upbeat the entire week I was reading this.

Despite or perhaps even because of how tough this book was to read, I have to recommend it. Reading these vivid, emotional, first-hand accounts is a unique experience you shouldn’t miss. I learned a lot about the place and time. I learned about the one million Soviet women who served in WWII, women whose skills and sacrifices changed the course of history but who are often forgotten. And I learned, the tiniest bit, about the horror of war. It’s such a worthwhile read, you definitely shouldn’t miss it.

6 Responses to “#FutursticFriday Review: The Unwomanly Face of War”

  1. Lindsey

    I really want to read this but I also imagine I will react just like you did. I’m so interested in people’s stories from this era, but it’s difficult reading material. There’s another book about women who somehow managed to give birth to babies at concentration camps, which I haven’t quite had the fortitude to pick up yet.

    • DoingDewey

      Oh, wow, yes, I think I’ve seen the one about the women who gave birth in concentration camps too and honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to make myself pick that up. Reading about violence is always hard, but violence involving children is the hardest. I don’t even like to read about bullying!

    • DoingDewey

      I could definitely see you enjoying this one! If you pick it up, I’ll be excited to hear what you have to say about it 🙂

  2. Jenny @ Reading the End

    I have one of her other books checked out from the library! It is already pretty grim and it’s not even about a war but I have heard amaaaaaazing things about this author?

    • DoingDewey

      I should check out any of her books on lighter topics, because she is truly fantastic and I’m not going to be up for anything this dark again for awhile!

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