New English-language acquisitions relating to Ukrainian history

As the Russian war against Ukraine continues, I thought it would be useful to highlight some new English-language acquisitions which focus on recent Ukrainian history. While it will obviously take some time for books to be written about the invasion and this new and terrible stage in the conflict between the two countries, there has been a war ongoing in Ukraine since 2014, and we have a number of titles, predominantly ebooks, dealing with the subject. (Click on any of the titles to be taken through to the iDiscover record.)

Last year, Harvard University Press launched the Harvard Library of Ukrainian Literature, “a new book series dedicated to publishing outstanding Ukrainian literature in English translation”; we will, of course, be looking to acquire each work in this series as it is released. The very first title to be published was the journalist and writer Stanislav Aseyev’s In Isolation: Dispatches from Occupied Donbas, a collection of essays originally written between 2015 and 2017: a recent review in the TLS describes it as “a rare and unsettling insider’s account of conditions in the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’”. It ends with his capture and imprisonment, and a subsequent work (The Torture Camp on Paradise Street) detailing his experience of incarceration is due for publication later in the year. Another first-person account of the conflict in Donbas, this time from Glagoslav Publications, is Artem Chekh’s Absolute Zero, based on the diary he kept during his time as a soldier there; and, as a previous blogpost highlighted, we hold A Loss : The Story of a Dead Soldier Told by His Sister, a memoir by Dr. Olesya Khromeychuk.

In addition to personal testimonies, there are many recent scholarly studies of Ukraine since 2014. Among them are The War in Ukraine’s Donbas : Origins, Contexts, and the Future, and Civil War? Interstate War? Hybrid War? : Dimensions and Interpretations of the Donbas Conflict in 2014-2020. (The latter is published by ibidem-Verlag, a press with a particular focus on Eastern Europe; since the invasion began, we have been identifying and filling gaps in our holdings.) Different angles on relations between Russia and Ukraine are examined in works such as False Mirrors : The Weaponization of Social Media in Russia’s Operation to Annex Crimea, and A War of Songs : Popular Music and Recent Russia-Ukraine Relations.

As well as these, we have many more general works on Ukrainian history, from Serhii Plokhy’s The Frontline: Essays on Ukraine’s Past and Present (a companion volume to his The Gates of Europe and Chernobyl : History of a Tragedy) to Vladislav Davidson’s From Odessa With Love : Political and Literary Essays from Post-Soviet Ukraine. Compilations of essays by multiple authors include Ukraine in Histories and Stories : Essays by Ukrainian Intellectuals, edited by Volodymyr Yermolenko, and From “the Ukraine” to Ukraine : A Contemporary History, 1991-2021, edited by Mykhailo Minakov, Georgiy Kasianov, and Matthew Rojansky; and newly released in May was Making Ukraine : Negotiating, Contesting, and Drawing the Borders in the Twentieth Century, edited by Olena Palko and Constantin Ardeleanu.

This is just a sample of some of the relevant works we hold. We have access to many more titles via the various large ebook packages to which we subscribe, and extra content has been temporarily opened up to institutions with initiatives such as De Gruyter’s move to make 115 ebooks and 13 journals freely available until the end of June. If you have any questions, or if you would like to recommend books in English relating to Ukraine, please do get in touch with the English Collections team (engcc@lib.cam.ac.uk).

Rebecca Gower

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