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06 Jul. 2023

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Top 9 books about the war in Ukraine that will help you understand the realities of Ukrainians and the russian invasion

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Top 9 books about the war in Ukraine that will help you understand the realities of Ukrainians and the russian invasion

Ukrainian writers and the military have been actively documenting the russian invasion since 2014. Find out about the top books that tell about the real events that took place in Ukraine and will help you better understand today's war

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Since 2014, Ukrainian writers have been actively researching and documenting events related to the russian-Ukrainian war. These works open our eyes to the real events and reveal the whole truth of the horrific russian invasion. 

The top 9 books written not only by writers but also by soldiers from the front line, which keep you in suspense not because of the thrilling storyline but because of the understanding that the events described on the pages are the realities of Ukrainian life - read more in our material.


Martin Brest - «The Infantry » book series


This is a story about a manager who unexpectedly became a sergeant in the Ukrainian army. The author was mobilized when the war in Donbas broke out, and during his service he wrote notes on social media. After spending 9 months at the front, he published three books based on these notes. This is not surprising, as Martin's posts became so popular that it would be a crime to leave them on Facebook.

These books are about attacks, victories, mistakes, disappointments, military bureaucracy, and everyday life.


Oleksandr Tereshchenko - «Life After 4:30»


This book is a phenomenon of traumatic writing. A publication by O. Tereshchenko, devoid of artificial pathos and moralizing, is only a lesson in patriotism, courage and humanity.

Oleksandr Tereshchenko is a journalist and cameraman from Mykolaiv; in 2014, he volunteered for the ATO and defended the Donetsk airport. During another battle, the soldier saved the lives of four of his comrades-in-arms, and lost an eye and his hands. The journalist's life was divided into "before" and "after" at 16:30, the time of Oleksandr's injury.

This book is not about war. It is about survival. It is about how a courageous warrior coped with depression and how he accepted that he needed the help of others. The author frankly and humorously describes his most difficult moments and his return to life.


Serhiy Zhadan - «Boarding School»


The book tells the story of Pasha, a teacher who goes to pick up his nephew from boarding school. Our hero meets the army and the armed forces, passes through small towns and sees people who do not understand what is happening.

In this book, the war is not described, it is felt. It tells how ordinary citizens feel when their lives are slowly being torn apart. When things happen that they cannot control.

The book has been translated into English, German, Belarusian, Polish, Italian and Danish. "The Orphanage can be purchased on Amazon. The paper version of the book costs about $16.


Andriy Kurkov - «Diary of the Maidan and the War»


In his publication, Kurkov describes his observations and experiences, as well as the emotions and hopes of other movement participants during the events of Euromaidan in 2013-2014 and the conflict in eastern Ukraine. He also covers the political situation that led to the growth of the mass protest movement and the conflict with the government.

«Diary of the Maidan and the War» describes the lives of people devastated by the war, their fears and hopes for the future, and expresses the author's personal reflections on how he witnessed a difficult period in Ukrainian history and the struggle for freedom, dignity and peace.

Shortly after its publication in English, the book was also published in German, French, Italian, and Japanese.


Vasyl Shklyar - «Black Sun»


This book is dedicated to the soldiers of the Azov Battalion. At that time, the battalion was not registered anywhere, and not all volunteers had weapons. The emblem of the unit was a black sun, which gave the book its title.

The hero of The Black Sun is a real Azov fighter with the call sign "Artist." Vasyl Shklyar met him in Kryvyi Rih before the Maidan. Later he found out that the man had volunteered for the Donbas. "The Artist" was only a prototype of the lyrical hero.




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Serhiy Serhiyovych - «Mud [*khaki]»


This book is a collection of posts by the scouts of the mountain assault brigade on social media. It contains stories about combat sorties, endless kilometers in the snow, cracks and shootings.

Mud is the word for war, and khaki is the color of the military uniform. The book mixes different languages, dialects, slang, and outright swearing. But perhaps this book should be like that. And those who are not scared off by the "cover" will find something important in it.

To date, Bulgarian, Polish, and English translations of the author's book have been published.


Igor Rodin - «Donbass Battalion. Notes of a Volunteer»


This is the story of a Kyiv taxi driver and military historian. Ihor Rodin was a midshipman in the airborne troops and believed that he should be at the front. He was not accepted into the army because of his age, so he joined a volunteer battalion in Donbas.

Ihor fought as an exemplary soldier, survived Ilovaisk without a nosebleed, but was captured. The hero spent almost a year in the basement of russian terrorists, and immediately after his release he returned to the front.

This is an amazing story about what it means to fight, to be captured and to fight again. It helps us to see everything from a rather unusual angle.


Valeriy Ananiev - «Footprints on the Road»


This is the first "live" interactive book about the war in the East. The author has done a unique job, because readers can feel as much as possible what the soldiers felt: the tension, the attempts to help their wounded comrades, the emotions that letters from loved ones caused.

The book focuses on the author's life and activities at the front, describing combat operations, relationships with his comrades, and impressions of military life. It is based on the author's notes and diaries, which realistically convey the atmosphere and emotions of a military conflict.

The book comes with about 100 QR codes to watch original videos and photos of the events described. All materials were shot at the front line in 2014.


Nadiia Sukhorukova - «Mariupol. Hope.»


This book is written on behalf of the author, who personally experienced the tragic events of the war in Mariupol. She saw with her own eyes the extent of the destruction caused by the russian army and felt that death was inevitable.

During the siege, Nadiya was saved by her diary, in which she wrote daily about what was happening in the city. The author's emotional and painfully honest story will not leave anyone indifferent. The main message of the book is the power of hope of the Ukrainian people.

The publication has also been translated into English.


These are just a few of the books that deserve your attention, but with their help you will be able to look at the events of the last 9 years in Ukraine from the inside and better understand the essence and shame of the russian invasion, as well as share the pain that Ukrainians have learned to convert into rage and strength.


TWe remind you! The literary achievements of Ukrainian writers are not limited to the borders of Ukraine, as their books find their readers all over the world. Read about the authors who made a significant contribution to the popularization of Ukrainian literature in our previous article.


Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS | Libkos




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