In This Review

In Wartime: Stories From Ukraine
In Wartime: Stories From Ukraine
By Tim Judah
Tim Duggan Books, 2016, 288 pp.

It is no small trick to convey what life is like for ordinary Ukrainians, particularly in the towns and villages where the detritus of the past remains piled high and left largely undisturbed because of the corruption that still prevails. It is more difficult still to capture the cruel mix of desolation, monotony, resignation, and pain experienced by those who remain in areas laid waste by the civil war that has raged in eastern Ukraine since 2014. Judah succeeds by traveling to these often out-of-the-way communities, poking around neighborhoods and museums, starting conversations with the people he meets, and interviewing local notables, knaves, quiet heroines, and people who are simply coping. From Lviv, in the heavily Polish-influenced west, to Bessarabia, a backwater to the south, to the epicenter of the war, in the Donbas, he reveals the links between the current conflict and the history lying beneath the emotions and memories that divide Ukrainians, brought to a sharp and ragged edge by the war.