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06 Sep. 2023

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The best books about Ukraine for those who want to learn more about the country's history and culture

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The best books about Ukraine for those who want to learn more about the country's history and culture

Ukrainian history is full of many tragic events that have shaped the country's society and culture. Find out about the best books about Ukraine that will help you get to know the country and its people better

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Ukrainian history has long roots, intertwined with hundreds of heroic and joyful, as well as sometimes terrible and tragic events. All of them undoubtedly influenced the formation of modern Ukraine and Ukrainians. And in order to better understand the character of the nation and the cultural DNA that has been embedded in the minds of its citizens for centuries, we invite you to read a selection of the best books about Ukraine on the occasion of the International Reading Day, which will not only help you learn more about the country and its citizens, but will also touch your soul.


All the books we have described have English translations.


And for those who want to understand or rethink the realities of Ukrainians and the russian invasion, we offer the top 9 books about the war in Ukraine. Some of them were written by the military directly from the trenches at the beginning of the russian invasion in 2014.


The Gates of Europe, by Serhiy Plohiy


Of the books published in recent years, this is one of the most comprehensive books on the history of Ukraine. The book tells about Ukraine as a central country in the landscape of Europe. Located at the "gateway to Europe," Ukraine has always had strategic importance and value in terms of resources, which was the main reason why many other states tried to control the country's territory for centuries. The book will help to understand how Ukraine has fought for its independence and sovereignty against numerous enemies for centuries, and how this has affected modern Ukrainians.


According to the author, understanding the history of Ukraine and its past allows us to better understand its present and the armed aggression of the russian federation.


I Will Die in a Foreign Land by Kalani Pickhart


The events in the book take place against the backdrop of the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity in 2014. On its pages, we can get acquainted with the life story of four different people whose fates intertwine in the most unexpected way.


What is the connection between a former KGB spy, an engineer from Prypiat, a young activist, and a Ukrainian-American doctor? And most importantly, how will geopolitical events, in particular russia's annexation of Crimea, affect their lives?


The Bone Mother by David Demchuk


Skillfully combining the real history of Ukraine with fantasy and folklore horror, the novel tells the story of the inhabitants of three neighboring villages on the Ukrainian-Romanian border at the beginning of World War II. 


Hunger forces people to commit terrible acts, but they are not the only ones in danger. Mythical creatures such as vampires, ghosts, sirens, and witches are trying to escape destruction. What trials did fate give them?


This book will definitely leave a long aftertaste, but its pages are full of horrific stories and terrible events that are organically intertwined on the verge of reality and fantasy.


Voices from Chornobyl: An Oral History of the Nuclear Disaster, by Svitlana Aleksiyevych


This book is a collection of real stories of people who survived the Chornobyl disaster. It is unlikely to leave anyone indifferent. In addition, the book became the main source of inspiration for the stunning TV show Chernobyl, and several storylines in the series are taken directly from these stories.




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Dog Park by Sophie Oksanen


This is not an ordinary book, because it will make you not only think about its content, but also collect "pieces of history" like puzzles, comparing stories and facts. The events in the book will make you move between modern Finland and the post-Soviet period of Ukraine. How are these two women, who met in a dog park, connected and why will one of them seek revenge for her ruined life?


Museum of Abandoned Secrets by Oksana Zabuzhko


This book stands out among the rest of the books about Ukraine because of its special style. The pages of the book cover six decades of Ukrainian history, and each chapter tells the story from the point of view of new characters.


Why will the journalist's research, which, by the way, runs to 800 pages, making this the largest book on our list, be stunning and why will the story of freedom fighter Olena Dovhan, who was killed by stalin's secret police, lead the main character to the path of blood, betrayal, idealism, and loyalty?


Red Famine by Anne Applebaum


This is one of the most comprehensive books about the genocide of Ukrainians, which was artificially created by the Soviet Union and became one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. The book is based on numerous interviews and research, including declassified survivor testimonies and archival footage.


The Polish-American journalist and author of the book not only reveals the events of that time, but also analyzes the causes and long-term consequences of the Holodomor.


House with a stained glass window, Zhanna Sloniewska


The unnamed narrator of the book is Marianna's eleven-year-old daughter, who was shot dead during a protest against the russian occupation. Spanning decades, the book tells the story of several generations of independent women. The Ukrainian city of Lviv also becomes a real character in this story, reflecting the fate of the strong women who live here.


Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn


The peculiarity of this book is that it tells the true story of Lyudmyla Pavlichenko, nicknamed "Lady Death," who became a deadly sniper in World War II. The book is based on real events, but on its pages you will see not only war, but also a deadly game. What awaits Lady Death in the United States of America?


Get to know Ukrainian history and culture better and explore Ukraine with us!


We remind you! Ukraine continues to hospitably welcome foreign visitors even during the war, and despite the threats from russia, it fascinates people who come from other continents. Find out more about the journey of our 78-year-old American guest on the eve of Ukraine's Independence Day in our previous article.




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