The Unwomanly Face of War

The Unwomanly Face of War

An Oral History of Women in World War II

Book - 2017 | First Edition
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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
0399588728
9780399588730
Branch Call Number: 940.092 Aleksievich 2017
Characteristics: xliii, 331 pages ; 25 cm

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RomanceAddict Aug 20, 2019

Review excerpt: "Trigger warnings for the explicit and implied deaths of children and animals, torture, PTSD, and sexual assault.

'The Unwomanly Face of War' is an oral history of women who fought for the Soviets in WWII. These women filled an incredible variety of roles. In addition to the famous Night Witches, the women who gave interviews for this book were sappers, partisans, underground resistance fighters, nurses, surgeons, antiaircraft gunners, front line soldiers, tankmen, telephone and radio operators, snipers, and more. The book is harrowing and discusses atrocities and moments of intense tragedy and pain. There is also humor, however, and the book puts a lot of attention on the women’s efforts to preserve a sense of normality by doing things like using baby pinecones as hair curlers, and their joy in finding a wildflower to keep in the bunker.

This book is a great read for people who are prepared to read about some awful emotional stuff, and for people who are interested in the roles women have played in history that have been largely erased."

https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/reviews/unwomanly-face-war-svetlana-alexievich/

JCLBetM Aug 18, 2019

I've never read anything like this. I listened to the audiobook and felt like a witness to a chorus of voices, hearing what had been hushed. But not the details of troop movements or weapons capabilities but of the everyday human experiences from women who served as soldiers, nurses, wives, mothers -- it was an amazing and poignant experience.

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CurlyWhirly
Jul 16, 2019

Speaking with Slavic accents, narrators Emelin and Shmulenson divvy up the many stories of Soviet women serving in the military and resistance movements of World War II in the audio edition of this English translation of Nobel Prize-winner Alexievich's oral history. There are chilling tales of girls witnessing-and perpetrating-atrocities and then wondering how they will be able to return home and have families of their own. And there are stories of sharpshooters, surgeons, and scouts performing heroically but worrying about their femininity and even their humanity. While the audio format is seemingly a natural fit for an oral history, it's easy to lose track of individuals in the accounts of hundreds of women. Emelin and Shmulenson do their best to provide unique voices for different women and they state the name of each before reading her story, but listeners can't refer back to those names as easily as readers could. While the book presents numerous women's experiences in the war, the stories start to blend together with only two actors providing the voices of hundreds of women. A Random House hardcover.

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mammothhawk229e
Jul 16, 2019

Author got herself a personal censor for writing a book on patriotic female volunteer in combat & non-combat roles because subject challenged the rosy "official" war history. Today's impersonal online troll nothing compared on face-to-face person who is paid by the government and making comments noted by author.
Heart wrenching stories from subjects via notebook, pencil, tape cassette & tape recorder with mental & health (hair going white to malnutrition) problems working in the front lines despite male chauvinism on top of postwar stigma from their countrymen. The warm rapport between author & interviewers is there in-between the lines
Story of male Russian major screaming "I hate Stalin!" & beseeching author not print his name despite dictator's 1953 death quite telling of a closed society...

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WoodneathReads
Oct 16, 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. -- Lizzie (See more of my picks by following WoodneathLizzie in the catalog)

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WoodneathLizzie
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 now.

And 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.

u
uncommonreader
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.

multcolib_susannel Aug 29, 2017

With courage and grace and honesty, these women are at last able to tell their stories.

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mclarjh
Aug 14, 2017

Powerful.

b
boogalou
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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