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The Angel of Grozny by Åsne Seierstad

The Angel of Grozny (2007)

by Åsne Seierstad

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2401268,033 (3.88)24
  1. 10
    A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (gust)
  2. 00
    I am a Chechen! by German Sadulaev (Rebeki)
    Rebeki: Offers a more personal and part-fictional look at the conflict in Chechnya and the nature of being a Chechen.

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English (6)  Norwegian (3)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (12)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
This book is possibly one of the most hopeless and depressing books that I have read. It was not fun to read, but I learned a lot about the conflict in Chechnya, and I am glad that I read it. The author was a reporter in Chechnya during the war in the mid-1990s and she then secretly returned to the area ten years later. In the book she tells the stories of the people she met during her stays there.

Pretty much every story was heartbreaking, depressing, and hopeless. From the deportation of much of the Chechen population to Stalin's prison camps during World War II to the modern wars, the history is filled with bloodshed and suffering. The book illustrates the cyclic nature of war. The actions of the Russian government and the Chechen rebel forces fuel the hatred that each side has for the other. It is no wonder that this hatred grows as many people have watched their loved ones disappear and be tortured or killed.

Overall, the book is very accessible and a worthwhile read if you want to learn more about the recent history of Chechnya. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
'Svoboda ili Smert. Freedom or death.', 4 Sep 2014

This review is from: The Angel of Grozny: Inside Chechnya (Kindle Edition)
An excellent look at the tragedy that is Chechnya, as the author moves through the country, meeting families with missing sons, traumatized children being cared for by the eponymous 'angel', and even the president himself.
The trouble between Russia and this republic dates back into ancient times: Tolstoy served here, fighting local rebels. More recently the hatred felt by the Chechens for Russia was fanned by the policy of moving whole villages of Chechens to live in the wilds of Kazakhstan. And as one reads of the destruction, the brutal killings and beatings by Putin's men, one feels utter sympathy for Chechnya.
And yet the author presents a balanced picture: the Russian soldiers, young conscripts straight out of school, killed or horrifically maimed by Chechen landmines. Perceived 'special treatment' of Chechen migrants to Moscow - infuriating the Russians.
And the issue of Islamic fundamentalism, which was starting to figure in the Chechens' reason for making war on their neighbor....Does Putin have reason for his iron control over the republic?
Not a book with any answers, but extremely informative and readable. ( )
  starbox | Sep 4, 2014 |
I don't think that I've ever read a book that has made me so aware about how little I know. I'm a bit of a news junkie, so I'd read whatever showed up in the papers about Chechnya, but that didn't even touch what is going on now and what has happened in Chechnya's bloody past. For example, did you know that Stalin deported the whole damn country to Khazakhstan? A half million mountain people were sent to live on the plains of Khazakhstan with no means of support. Twenty-five percent died on the journey or in the first few months.

Seierstad wrote The Bookseller of Kabul, in which she lived with a family in Afghanistan. The Angel of Grozny is much more far-reaching in scope. She first went to Chechnya during the first Chechen war soon after she'd gotten a job working for a Norwegian newspaper as the correspondent for Russia, based entirely on her knowledge of Russian. She talked herself onto a Russian military plane and was dropped off at the Grozny airport. She chose to trust people and, in turn, random people invited her into their homes and told their stories.

Seierstad must be an easy person to talk to. She speaks with everyone from the leader of Chechnya to orphaned children, disabled Russian veterans and a man who killed his sister in an honor killing. This was not an easy book to read; the violence in Chechnya has no easy solutions, nor even difficult ones. Were the Russians to leave, civil war would erupt, the Chechens themselves divided between traditional Muslims and the more extreme Wahabists, as well as divisions along tribal lines. ( )
3 vote RidgewayGirl | Mar 15, 2010 |
Excellent book telling of the author's travels thru war torn areas, in particular Kosovo. It reveals in a shocking way the effect war has on a country and especially on the children. It also highlights the courage and selflessness of those who try in any way they can to help the children in a fight against incredible corruption and callousness. ( )
  dianemb | Oct 22, 2009 |
This book is going to haunt me for a long time. Does being aware of these stories somehow lessen the burden of the people who are living them out? I love Asne's writing. It reminds me very much of the work of Ryzard Kapuscinski. Asne pulls back the cover from a very dark corner of the world ... one hopes that with awareness will come action/understanding/help to a place that desperately needs it. ( )
  Lillian3 | Oct 4, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465011225, Hardcover)

In the early hours of New Year’s 1994, Russian troops invaded the Republic of Chechnya, plunging the country into a prolonged and bloody conflict that continues to this day. A foreign correspondent in Moscow at the time, Åsne Seierstad traveled regularly to Chechnya to report on the war, describing its affects on those trying to live their daily lives amidst violence.

In the following decade, Seierstad became an internationally renowned reporter and author, traveling to the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other war-torn regions. But she never lost sight of this conflict that had initially inspired her career. Over the course of a decade, she watched as Russia ruthlessly suppressed an Islamic rebellion in two bloody wars and as Chechnya evolved into one of the flashpoints in a world now focused on the threat of international terrorism.

In 2006, Seierstad finally returned to Chechnya, traveling in secret and under the constant threat of danger. In a broken and devastated society she lived with orphans, the wounded, the lost. And she lived with the children of Grozny, those who will shape the country’s future. She asks the question: What happens to a child who grows up surrounded by war and accustomed to violence?

A compelling, intimate, and often heartbreaking portrait of Chechnya today, The Angel of Grozny is a vivid account of a land’s violent history and its ongoing battle for freedom.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:14 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In the early hours of New Year's 1994, Russian troops invaded the Republic of Chechnya, plunging the country into a prolonged and bloody conflict that continues to this day. A foreign correspondent in Moscow at the time, Åsne Seierstad traveled regularly to Chechnya to report on the war, describing its affects on those trying to live their daily lives amidst violence.… (more)

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