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The Angel of Grozny: Orphans of a Forgotten War

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  549 ratings  ·  100 reviews
In the early hours of New Year’s 1994, Russian troops invaded the Republic of Chechnya, plunging the country into a prolonged and bloody conflict that continues to this day. A foreign correspondent in Moscow at the time, Åsne Seierstad traveled regularly to Chechnya to report on the war, describing its affects on those trying to live their daily lives amidst violence.In th ...more
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Basic Books (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Jonfaith
It may be effective for Errol Morris to allow his interviewees to gush unchecked and create a culpable subtext. This is a fine strategy - for him. It works well on film. Pages of raving do not make for persuasive or evocative prose. If the person in question is a young man leaning towards jihad or a Russian reactionary whose son has been imprisoned for a hate crime, it doesn't lead anywhere to have pages of stuttering conspiracy theories and gnashing hate speech.

I couldn't tell if Angel of Grozn
...more
زاهي رستم
بالرغم من موقفي المعارض لكل الحروب، مهما كانت أهدافها.. فهي ما تزال دليلاً على تخلف تفكيرنا.. وإيماننا أن حفنة من القوة، خير من كيس من الحق..
بالرغم من موقفي هذا.. لا يمكنني كعارف بتاريخ الحروب القفقاسية منذ زمن القياصرة.. إلا أن أكون إلى جانب الشعب الشيشاني.. الذي عشق الحرية والوطن أكثر من أي شيء آخر.. ولكن الحرب بالنسبة لي تعني انخراط الجميع في الاخطاء.. والعنف يولد عنفاً مضاداً..
ربما تعتقد روسيا بوتين أنها انتصرت بحربها مع الشيشان.. وذلك عن طريق تحويل حربها معهم إلى حرب بين الشيشان أنفسهم.. ك
...more
yamami
تبدأ أولى خطوات الرواية من بين الركام والأشلاء والدماء ، في عتمة الجرح يظهر الطفل ( تيمور ) ملطخاً بالغبار والدماء والألم ، يكويه صقيع شتاء قروزني الجريجة ، وتلسعه سياط الحرمان فتُمزق وجه الطفل الذي بداخله وتُحيله لذئبٍ جريحٍ يَصبّ جام غضبه على الكلاب الشريدة ، يقتلها ويُمزقها لـ أشلاء .

بعد أن شح مصدر المعلومات المتعلقة بالحرب ، تبدأ الصحفية آسني سييرستاد رحلتها من موسكو متوجهة إلى قروزني التي كانت تشتعل بنيران الحرب والموت آنذاك .
في ظروفٍ صعبة حيث يختبئ الموت في كل زاوية وينتشر القناصة في الطر
...more
Anushree Rastogi
When I started reading this book, the Boston bombings hadn't yet happened and Chechnya was a country that had been conveniently forgotten like so many war-torn nations of the world. It was therefore with feelings of apprehension and excitement at getting to know a little more about the Soviet Union, my latest interest, that I picked this one up.

Then of course, there was a bomb blast. People died and , suddenly, the internet was flooded with information on this seemingly insignificant nation wit
...more
Lee
War is bad. Here's why: Åsne Seierstad’s first assignment as a journalist was as Moscow correspondent for a Norwegian newspaper. What she lacked in writing experience, she made up for in her fluent Russian and fearlessness. By stealth, as well as official invitation, she spent over a decade reporting from Chechnya. Her meetings with the Chechen president, whose image in tandem with his father, (the murdered ex-president) is ubiquitious, would be hilarious were the leaders not so thuggish and bru ...more
Maggie
This is the third Seierstad book I've read, but this book makes her the most approachable. That probably lies in the fact that many of her experiences in the book are very personal to in that they occurred at the beginning of her journalistic career and were very frightening (often, frankly, quite foolhardy) and, perhaps, therefore hold greater weight in her memories.

Seierstad does an excellent job of explaining the complexities of the Chechen War and why independence is so important to the Che
...more
لطيفة الحاج

اتممت قراءة ملاك غروزني بعد أيام من الغصات المتتالية والمزاج الكئيب الذي أدخلتني فيه الرواية والتي هي في الحقيقة أقرب إلى مذكرات الصحفية النرويجية خلال فترة إقامتها في غروزني والشيشان. نقلت الصحفية الأحداث والمواقف التي تعرضت لها والأشخاص الذين التقت بهم وعاشت معهم وقاسمتهم الطعام والشراب والقصص التي تعتصر لها القلوب.

هنالك قصص وحكايات عن أطفال مشردين وأيتام وجرحى حرب وأمهات فقدت أبناءهن وأرامل وعرائس لا يعرفن شيئا عن أزواجهن. الكثير من الألم والحزن والتعاطف، لا أذكر أنني ابتسمت خلال قراءتي للرو
...more
Simon Bolivar
Year 1995: When I watched Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis on DD-1 channel I was so surprised to know that such things could happen in Russia too. News from Chechnya was flowing since then but I always ignored it as conflicts happening inside former Soviet republics.

Year 2014: Middle East once again in turmoil. Gulf War 3.0 was about to shape out. I have started following western media after the successive insurrection of Islamic State and their conquest of Mosul in Iraq. Initially, like Rus
...more
Chris
I wish more American reporting was like this book. Yes, I know Seirstad is from Norway but I can wish.

This is a good luck at how war effects and affects society on a micro and macro level. The focus is a married couple who have taken in orphans, but Seierstad focuses on other families as well. This is actual more gripping than Bookseller of Kabul and quite is rather more brutal.
Mark Sequeira
Okay, now at the end of the book, I will still say buy it and read it. Sad, unfortunate, desperate, will it ever end? Even though I borrowed it from the library, I will be buying it.



Read the first paragraph, then the first chapter/introduction(?) and see if you can put it down. Sad, depressing, shocking all describe this book and the horrible terror of being Chechen in the Caucasus/Ichkeria today. I will have to come back and write a full review but more people should know about what's going on
...more
Jule
Seierstad, a Norwegian reporter, was 24 when she first left Moscow to go into Chechnya - it was her first year of working as a journalist - to report about the life and ongoings during the first war. Her account is a tremendous work that blends political with historical facts, offers a great insight into Chechen and Russian culture and last but not least documents her personal experiences during the first and second Chechen wars. Especially for her documentation of human tragedy in a time of vio ...more
Mary
An eye-opener. I have great respect for Norwegian journalist Asne Seirstad and her research.

Jacket blurb: In the early hours of New Year's 1994, Russian troops invaded the Republic of Chechnya, plunging the country into a prolonged and bloody conflict that continues to this day. A foreign correspondent in Moscow at the time, Åsne Seierstad traveled regularly to Chechnya to report on the war, describing its affects on those trying to live their daily lives amidst violence.

In the following decade
...more
Noor
The book definitely deserves no less than five stars!

The gifted writer describes her experiences in Chechnya along more than fifteen years. During the first war, the second war, and in the recent times, under the presidency of Ramazan Qadirov.

How much unknown pain was suffered in Chechnya! How much suffering passed away without any one knowing about! How many people disappeared without a single person knowing where they have gone! how much fear and drastic memories are there instilled in the hea
...more
Sintija Alksne
Grāmatas autore Osne Seierstade ir talantīga norvēģu žurnāliste. 24 gadu vecumā strādāja Maskavā, tobrīd 1994. gadā, tas bija pārmaiņu un nemieru laiks. Krievijas karaspēks iebruka Čečenijā. Osne Seierstade devās turp, kur zemi plosa karš, lai savām acīm redzētu pretrunīgo patiesību un stāstītu par to pasaulei. 12 gadus vēlāk, kad rakstniece guvusi atzinības par reportāžām no "karstajiem punktiem", viņa nelegāli, riskējor ar dzīvību, atgriežās Čečenijā, kur karš vēl nebija beidzies. Gūto iespaid ...more
Toms Ciguzis
Šo grāmatu ir sarakstījusi Osne Seierstade. 1994. gadā, kad Krievijas karaspēka iebrukums Čečenijas republikā jau bija izdevies, šī talantīgā, 24 gadus vecā norvēģu žurnāliste dodas uz kara izplosīto zemi, neskatoties uz daudzajiem atrunātājiem, lai būtu tieši epicentrā un savām acīm redzētu visu notiekošo. Pēc 12 gadiem, kad rakstniece jau guvusi atzinību par savām reportāžām no pasaules "karstajiem punktiem", viņa nelegāli, riskējot ar savu dzīvību atgriežas Čečenijā, taču tur vēl karš nebija ...more
Carol Harrison
I don't understand why the title of this book is The Angel of Grozny: Orphans of a Forgotten War, when only about 1/12, or 2 chapters out of 24, relate to Hadijat (the "Angel") and the lives of war-orphaned children. The rest of the book is mostly made up of accounts of the author's travels in Chechnya and Moscow and her interviews with soldiers, politicians, and citizens. While it certainly does focus attention on the horrors and injustice of war in general, and in Chechnya particularly, it doe ...more
Scott
I knew nothing of Chechnya before reading this book and, although it's dangerous to take any one account of such a complex situation as gospel, I do feel more informed. And that is one of the triumphs of this book - that it makes clear the lack of clarity, and the complexity, of ancient regional warfare. Although there is great sympathy for the Chechens, Seierstad is careful to illuminate the stories of Russians too. Ultimately it's a bleak book, and there is no sign of resolution, but in the de ...more
Karen
Mar 10, 2009 Karen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Karen by: Asne Seierstad is one of my favorite authors. Her writing from
Shelves: non-fiction
I admit I am biased about loving this book because I basically want to be Asne Seierstad. That said, this was an excellent book about those who are affected by war. And recently. And not in Iraq or Afghanistan. It's the story of people, especially children, caught in the war in Chechnya.

It's funny that I can't stand to watch violent tv shows or movies, but I'm compelled to read books like this. Further, I'm grateful to people like Seierstad for traveling to dangerous places and talking to danger
...more
Sally Tarbox
'Svoboda ili Smert. Freedom or death.', 4 Sep 2014

This review is from: The Angel of Grozny: Inside Chechnya (Kindle Edition)
An excellent look at the tragedy that is Chechnya, as the author moves through the country, meeting families with missing sons, traumatized children being cared for by the eponymous 'angel', and even the president himself.
The trouble between Russia and this republic dates back into ancient times: Tolstoy served here, fighting local rebels. More recently the hatred felt by t
...more
Mildred Merz
The librarian leader of our book discussion group recommended this after we read A Constellation of Vital Phenomenon. This was a distressing, depressing, and enlightening book about the recent wars in Chechnya. There is certainly no wonder that the Chechens hate the Russians--Stalin had them deported to Kazakhstan in 1944. Khrushchev let them return in 1956. Book portrays all sides of the Chechen situation explaining why the Russians hate them (they are Muslim and not ethnic Russians). Because o ...more
Jan
Reading this book as war shatters lives in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world can only teach the valuable lesson that those who pursue war are either unaware or indifferent to the suffering that common people endure. Seierstad travels twice through war-ridden Chechnya and the later region under the yoke of dictatorship to collect stories from those who've suffered most from reckless war-mongering. An array of disturbing experiences which make me question the effectiveness of the human ri ...more
Tad
This was an incredibly thorough look at a country and a war that I confess to not being very familiar with. Sometimes, it was a little too thorough as I kept losing track of where we were and what she was saying and such. However, there is no doubt in my mind that this is an excellent book about a devastatingly sad situation. My heart breaks for all the people of Chechnya who are caught in the middle of this war and don't see a way out. It is just sad, there is really no other way to put it. I'm ...more
Adrianna
It's difficult to rate a book like this given the subject matter. There's some confusing parts to an outside reader, but most of the context is clear if you're familiar with 20th century Russian history. I read all of Seierstad's books and her writing is the best when she focuses on an individual's story or places herself into the contextual information. The thing I struggle with the most is her account of incest/child rape. It's similiar to the debate in Mark Jacobson's The Lampshade - he acqui ...more
Moheeb Abualqumboz
تعليقي باللغة العربية (English brief follows)
سألني كريس عن سبب شرائي للكتاب ونحن واقفون أمام كتب كثيرة
قلت له أنت تعرف أنني عشت تجربة الحرب في غزة لمدة 22 يوما تحت النار والقصف وما عقب ذلك من مآس
وأردت أن أرى تجربة أخرى من تجارب الحروب وكيف عاشها الآخرون
أما عن الكتاب فلا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله
لقد نقل الكتاب صورة من أفظع المآسي الإنسانية الحديثة. لقد نجحت أزنا سيرتاد مؤلفة الرواية في روايتها الرائعة هذه في نقل صورة الحرب وفظائعها بشكل أدبي وسردي وتاريخي مؤثر
لقد شعرت بقلبي ينفطر لهؤلاء الأخوة المسلمي
...more
Erma Odrach
Journalist Asne Seierstad disguised herself as a Chechen, and despite a restriction on foreigners entering Chechnya, she forced her way into the war-ravished republic. There she became witness to not only the horrors of conflict but of the brutality of the police imposed by Moscow-based president Ramzon Kadyrov. Individuals are routinely abducted and tortured only to then disappear and/or get murdered.

Old-age homes and orphanages are shut down, bringing tens of thousands of elderly and children
...more
Michael Griswold
Journalist Asne Seierstad always one for a challenge takes us inside Chechnya and talks to the residents of one of the Russian Federations most volatile republics that has been absolutely gutted by two wars between The Russians and Chechen/Islamic insurgents in the mid 1990's and early 2000's.

It is one thing to read the cold grey of newspaper statistics from a war zone...x people killed, y people injured, but it is quite another to sit in the living room and listen to the story of a mother whose
...more
يوسف زهدى
Well, its really complicated to write a review about this book, how can I say I liked a book telling the story of war orphans? will it really make sense to say that I enjoyed the book to the extent that I hated to finish it?
The book tells stories of torn/killed/torturer Muslim families in Bosnia by Soviet then Russian then finally puppet government appointed Russians..
Too many lessons I learnt from this book,
1- To read more about the international world view towards racism and mascaras against
...more
Sabrina
Do you know how it is to live in the middle of a war field?
Åsne Seierstad do.

What you read, heard or saw in the news doesn't count.
I'm talking about experiencing it, living it. Feeling the constant fear of death, smelling it in the air.
Witnessing despair. Fear. Fear of not making trough the day.

If there's one thing that I noticed about books of war that I've read so far, is that at a point, I start getting tired and uncomfortable for reading such violence. Such suffering.

Then, If I feel bad j
...more
Lorenzo Berardi
From the bestselling author of the - extremely overrated - "Bookseller of Kabul", comes this book about Chechnya.
"The Angel of Grozny" is much better than what Seierstad wrote (and thought to see) about life in Kabul, but is still affected by the same cons.

Here we have a young and undoubtedly talented journalist who is not content of being a reporter but would rather like to be a writer, a storyteller.
And Åsne Seierstad does have the gift of writing some touching and beautiful descriptions here
...more
Katie
This book is possibly one of the most hopeless and depressing books that I have read. It was not fun to read, but I learned a lot about the conflict in Chechnya, and I am glad that I read it. The author was a reporter in Chechnya during the war in the mid-1990s and she then secretly returned to the area ten years later. In the book she tells the stories of the people she met during her stays there.

Pretty much every story was heartbreaking, depressing, and hopeless. From the deportation of much
...more
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“فعبرنا ونحن محنيو الظهور مستنقعاً متجمداً تحت ضوء القمر. وعندما لا يكون ذلك المستنقع متجمداً يصبح عبوره مستحيلاً. وفي تلك الليلة الباردةالمتلألئة بالنجوم بدت أرض المستنقع المسطح لا نهاية لها.
من كتاب "ملاك غروزني”
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“في بعض الأوقات أخذت السماء بأكملها تتوهج بالصواريخ محيلة الليل إلى نهار. فكانت تبقى عالقة هناك لوقت وجيز ثم تسقط ببطء على الأرض.
من كتاب "ملاك غروزني" ص54”
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