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The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History…

The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II (1985)

by Svetlana Alexievich

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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A good read. Alexievich more or less invented this type of lit. This book has a few of the censors comments early on. These idiots actually thought that they could retell ww2 from the government's point of view, Apparently the Russians did not even contact any of these women until 30 years had gone by, This is the author's first book, and it reads quite well; the stories are all about women volunteers in the war, unlike her most recent efforts which followed a lot of heroes of both sexes as they were jailed by Stalin after the war. ( )
  annbury | Aug 10, 2017 |
This author tackles the personal cost of war on woman, those who served and those who were civilians during the second world war. These personal accounts, some just paragraphs, some a few pages, but all heartfelt and heartbreaking. We have read many books, fiction and non that chronicle men's experiences and after effects, but very few women. Ordinary women I should say, who were living normal lives but feeling compelled or just caught up in the tangled and long reaching call to war.

The author states her reasons for writing this book in her forward, this is actually a re-release, published for the first time, I believe in the 80's. I of course knew that women served as nurses, ambulance drivers, but never knew there were a group of women snipers. We hear how difficult their first kill was, and how they changed because of this act. Their experiences when they were no longer serving, integrating back into society. How they were perceived by men, and society in general.

As the author states, women perceive their experiences differently than men do, she wanted to highlight this , and bring it to the attention of the public. Some wanted to talk, some said little, wanting simply to forget. Some parts of this was difficult to read, some sad, some frustrating and reading a few I got angry. All these thing women did, went through, and never had it acknowledged, pitiful and shameful. Thanks to this author, at least some of us will read about them now.

ARC from publisher. ( )
  Beamis12 | Jul 19, 2017 |
Wow!... Oh, my! Awhile back, I stated I do not read every war book that I view. But, I felt I must read, The Unwomanly Face of War...An Oral History of Women in World War II. This book had been translated into English by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.

The author Svetlana Alexievich, a journalist, was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature for "polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time."

I probably ought to preface this by stating that WWII occurred decades before my birth so what I know of it came from history books which recounted how WWII did not just effect that generation. The American men I knew, who served on the front lines during WWII, have now perished. And, they spoke very little.. of war.. to me.

This book is phenomenal in that it is a collection of stories from Russian women serving on the front lines in WWII. It makes some interesting points in that it is believed that women have more 'light gathering power' in terms of their 'strength of feeling'. Personally, I do not know if I feel things stronger than a man. But, I do know, I express things differently. Perhaps... more openly.

The women in the front lines were known to be good at communications and were medically necessary. I say women. But actually, many of these accounts were from women who served in war, at a time when they were barely out of puberty. They were on the front lines because of their ability to change and adapt.

'The Unwomanly Face of War' , more than anything else, forces readers to evaluate their values and realize people change when faced with anything close to the hardships of war. Be prepared. This book is not watered down. Each account is interesting and many are agonizingly heartbreaking.

Prior to today, I could not fathom the importance of saving the weapons along with the man. In all honesty, I never realized a young girl would drag herself into a burning tank, the smell of charred flesh...her flesh. surrounding her. She is lifting a heavy... lifeless ..body, while carrying artillery too.

Yes, this collection, tackles terribly difficult content that is war related. What if you got pregnant while in service? What if you survive this hell only to return home at 19 to parents who did not recognize you? What if you came home and your sibling handed you a copy of your own death notice?

When the realization hits.... it hits hard! Yes, their personal well- being is influenced by their daily sacrifice. So what justifies this? Some of these women say, having a chance to to tell about it.These women are their voice of WWII. All, wanted to live a day without remembering the faces of war. But, all the time these women served... they had a strong sense of home. They returned. And, this is their story.

I highly recommend this book.

I reviewed for Net Galley. ( )
  LorisBook | Jul 16, 2017 |
Good book.
  phpp | Nov 23, 2015 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Svetlana Alexievichprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ackerman, GaliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Öberg Lindsten, KajsaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Braungardt, Ganna-MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lequesne, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ik schrijf een boek over de oorlog... En dat terwijl ik nooit hield van oorlogsboeken, de favoriete lectuur van al mijn leeftijdgenoten in mijn jeugd.
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