- Taschenbuch: 416 Seiten
- Verlag: Grove Press; Auflage: Translation, Reprint (3. Februar 2009)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0802144039
- ISBN-13: 978-0802144034
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 16,5 x 2,5 x 21,6 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 256.264 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
One Soldier's War (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 3. Februar 2009
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"Bears comparison with the great literary accounts of any war."
"Harrowingly good ... This literary account from the front is a modern equivalent of All Quiet on the Western Front."
"Babchenko writes courageously about what he has seen--that is why his book is so graphic. That is why it is not only important as literature, but also politically."
"Breathlessly visual ... Easily bears comparison with the great literary accounts of other wars, such as Michael Herr's Dispatches . . . One has rarely read about a military culture in which the line between war and peace is so blurred."
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This was an exhausting read, yet I couldn't stop. Every moment conveyed misery. Most notably, the non-stop accounts of dedovshchina and endemic alcoholism and bullying simply wore me down. Reading war accounts from other conflicts, there's a sense that even when various soldiers dislike or even hate each other, there's a sense of camaraderie and mission. This account portrayed an insular dog-eat-dog world where the mission hardly even mattered - senior members bullied younger members, higher ranks bullied lower ranks, the soldiers stole and sold army property to cover their own needs - the sense of hopelessness and unending fear, grit, and grime never ended.
Overall, that pervading sense of misery seems more accurate than some other rosier accounts of war I've read.
But this is a spot for reviews, so some critical words are justified.
Some reviewers have questioned how accurate the account really is (what is described in the book is indeed colloquially speaking 'unbelievable'). The author admits that some characters are composites, etc, but insists that everything described happened. Not having been there one cannot really know for sure - I share the skepticism, but am inclined to believe the author. This was a dysfunctional army, in a dysfunctional country, in a dysfunctional war.
The manner of the telling leaves something to be desired. The style is quite laconic at times - leaving partsof the account almost lifeless. The account is also rather blinkered - very little peripheral or broader context is ever provided. If nothing else, one wishes for a clearer sense of the timeline of this 'one soldier's war', or some sense of progression in his experience. This may all be inherent and intentional style - a mirror of the soldiers situation and psychology. But there's a hint at a pulse e.g. when describing the draw back to the army, and the book would be livelier read if it was evident more often. Perhaps something is lost in the translation.
But although perhaps an imperfect work, a compelling read well worth picking up.