One Soldier's War In Chechnya | Granta

  • Published: 01/06/2008
  • ISBN: 9781846270406
  • 130x20mm
  • 304 pages

One Soldier’s War In Chechnya

Arkady Babchenko

‘I always thought that war was black and white. But it is colour.’ This is a compulsively readable, autobiographical account of life as a young soldier in Russia’s Chechen wars. It takes the raw and mundane reality of days amid guns and grenades and twists it into compelling, chilling – and eerily elegant – prose. With unblinking honesty, Babchenko traces his journey from innocence to experience, beginning with his teenage arrival in the transit camp just north of Chechnya and harsh treatment by his seniors as a naive and scared new recruit, through to his period of active duty at the front, by which time he has become a brutalized and hardened soldier.

This is an outstanding dispatch from the frontline of war – unsparing, unsentimental, blackly comic and brutally beautiful – from an ordinary soldier who tells it like it is. This title will especially appeal to readers of contemporary reportage and war writing – from Michael Herr and Kapuscinski to Anthony Swofford’s Jarhead and Mark Bowden’s Black Hawk Down; as well as lovers of Tolstoy, Chekhov and Babel, and anyone with an interest in modern Russia.

The most unsparing memoir I've seen - of any war.

John Lloyd, Financial Times

Remarkable - my book of the year.

Matthew Sweet, ‘Night Waves’, BBC Radio 3

Until I read Arkady Babchenko's graphic first-person account in One Solider's War in Chechnya, I had not realised the depths to which the Russian Army had sunk. At times the stupidity, neglect and the scale of the suffering made this modern conflict in the Caucasus sound like an account from the trenches of the First World War.

Richard Beeston, The Times

The Author

Arkady Babchenko was born in 1977. He fought as an 18-year-old conscript in the first Chechen War in 1996-8 and then volunteered to return for six months in 2000 during the second Chechen War. A law graduate, he currently works in Moscow as a journalist on the oppositional newspaper Novaya Gazeta. This is his first book.

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