The Unwomanly Face of War

The Unwomanly Face of War

An Oral History of Women in World War II

Book - 2017
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"Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive style, War's Unwomanly Face is Svetlana Alexievich's collection of stories of women's experiences in World War II, both on the front lines, on the home front, and in occupied territories. This is a new, distinct version of the war we're so familiar with. Alexievich gives voice to women whose stories are lost in the official narratives, creating a powerful alternative history from the personal and private stories of individuals. Collectively, these women's voices provide a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human side of the war. When the Swedish Academy awarded Svetlana Alexievich the Nobel Prize in Literature, they praised her "polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time," and cited her for inventing "a new kind of literary genre." Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, added that her work comprises "a history of emotions -- a history of the soul."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780399588723
Characteristics: xliii, 331 pages ; 25 cm


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Oct 10, 2018

Everyone has an image of World War II in their mind--the landings at Omaha Beach, the men raising the flag at Iwo Jima, Churchill's famous speech. But I didn't know anything about the brave women who fought in World War II until I read this book.

Now that I've read The Unwomanly Face of War, I can't believe that these stories aren't more widely known. The tales these women tell aren't the well-known stories of battle lines or enemy troop movements. They're the stories of soldiers who underwent incredible hardships, only to return home to face scorn and silence instead of accolades.

This isn't an easy read--if you cry easily like me, you'll want to keep some tissues handy. But I couldn't put this book down, and I feel like everyone who wants to understand World War II should view this as necessary reading.

Apr 24, 2018

First published in 1985 but translated only in 2017, this is an oral history of Russian women in WW II. Over one million women fought in the Soviet army, in all capacities. Many were teenage girls. What struck me was the love for and loyalty to the Motherland because of the changes brought to the lives of ordinary people since the Revolution and despite Stalin.

Aug 14, 2017


Aug 12, 2017

This is a very moving book. These are the stories of young girls going to the Russian front in WW II. They served as nurses, doctors, telephone operators, partisans, medical assistants, pilots, antiaircraft operators and snipers. At times I had to stop reading due to the emotions these women passed on in their stories. Every one should read this book and understand why war is hell, from a woman's perspective. This book should be essential reading for all.


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