Monday, 22 December 2014


4 out of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, Memoir, Ukraine, WWII

Originally posted on Amazon HERE on 6 February 2013

I found the first about 60% of this book gripping and hard to put down. The plight of Ukranians under Soviet rule is something we hear little about - especially what happened in the early 1930s. We, here in the privileged and relatively safe 21st century of the West can only read, aghast; living through something like this is beyond our comprehension. Mr Szpuk's experience of the war kept me reading even when I was too tired to do so. One of my very favourite types of book is the historical event told from personal experience - this ticked all the boxes; it's well written, too.

I enjoyed the last 30% or so of the book just slightly less as I didn't really get the inclusion of long passages about things like the death of JFK and England winning the World Cup - I felt they were just included to appeal to a certain age of readers, rather than as a part of Mr Szpuk's story. However, I am sure they will appeal to many, and the book continued to be well written and very readable.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the history of the Ukraine, who is appalled yet fascinated by the depths of man's inhumanity to man, and who wants to know more about the second world war, from a viewpoint we rarely get to see - and anyone who likes an inspiring story of survival through the most adverse of circumstances. Thank you, Andy, for sharing this with us.

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