From the Nobel Prize-winning writer, an oral history of childrenâ€™s experiences in World War II across Russiaâ€”in the vein of The Unwomanly Face of War and Secondhand Time
For more than three decades, Svetlana Alexievich has been the memory and conscience of the twentieth century. When the Swedish Academy awarded her the Nobel Prize, it cited her for inventing â€śa new kind of literary genre,â€ť describing her work as â€śa history of emotions . . . a history of the soul.â€ť
Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive style, Last Witnesses is Alexievichâ€™s collection of the memories of those who were children during World War II. They had sometimes been soldiers as well as witnesses, and their generation grew up with the trauma of the war deeply embeddedâ€”a trauma that would change the course of the Russian nation.
Collectively, this symphony of childrenâ€™s stories, filled with the everyday details of life in combat, reveals an altogether unprecedented view of the war. Alexievich gives voice to those whose memories have been lost in the official narratives, uncovering a powerful, hidden history from the personal and private experiences of individuals.
Translated by the renowned Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Last Witnesses is a powerful and poignant account of the central conflict of the twentieth century, a kaleidoscopic portrait of the human side of war.