Erma Odrach's Reviews > The Angel of Grozny: Orphans of a Forgotten War

The Angel of Grozny by Åsne Seierstad
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Dec 13, 09


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 onto the streets. The "angel" of Grozny is Hadijat who takes damaged children into her home and cares for them. But she cannot possibly single-handedly fight off all the unimaginable suffering around her. This is a human story, one where life is simply unbearable.

As for the writing, it sometimes lacks focus and is on the bland side. But definitely worth the read, if only because Seierstad was crazy enough to travel to one of the most dangerous places on earth to tell us about the atrocities being committed against the Chechen people.
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by Chrissie (new) - added it

Chrissie I am curious about your review. I had forgotten this was on my TBR shelf. TThanks for reminding me. I am sure you have read the other books by this author. The book blurb says Seierstad askes "What happens to a child who grows up surrounded by war and accustomed to violence?" Unfortunately, if I were to guess, violence leads to more violence....



Erma Odrach I sort of forgot about it too. Just read a book on Chernobyl, which was upsetting; this one will be too.


message 3: by Chrissie (new) - added it

Chrissie Yeah I read your review about the Chernobyl book. I cannot imagine that children or adults rowing up/living through such events can be anything but detrimentally affected.


Erma Odrach I really liked the Chernobyl book, even though the reviews weren't that great and there was a lot of criticism. It was very simple to read, and was really a curious American's observation of Chernobyl. He happened to visit there because he was on a UN mission and Communism had just fallen. He integrated himself with the locals, which i liked. It's really heartbreaking.


message 5: by Chrissie (new) - added it

Chrissie Thanks for writing the review and particularly mentioning the writing. I appreciated this author's book about life in Kabul.


Erma Odrach So terrible and so little in the press.


message 7: by Chrissie (new) - added it

Chrissie Really - so little in the press! In Europe the coverage is much better. Don't you think that European issues of little consequence for America FREQUENTLY are disregarded by the American press?! The coverage is a bit insular, that is my insignificant observation......


Erma Odrach yes, I agree, there's much more coverage in Europe. So much news (on tv, radio newspapers) in US/Canada is celebrity news, weight loss, tips on consumer goods and so on ... Real news is forever being cut back.


message 9: by Chrissie (new) - added it

Chrissie Ughh! I don't want to upset anybody, but this is not a new phenomenon. When I moved to Sweden 40 years ago this was very evident then too.


message 10: by Erma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erma Odrach Really? I've noticed it especially in the past 10, 15 years or so. Even my kids have noticedd the "dumbing down" in their lifetime. One has to dig around for other media sources to get news these days.


message 11: by Chrissie (last edited Dec 13, 2009 11:55AM) (new) - added it

Chrissie I noticed it when we moved to Sweden - a whole different balance of what was discussed in the news. Maybe it is just that Europe is closer to other Europeans. However it is more than that, what is happening in other countries OUGHT to be important even if one is the biggest and most influential in the world scence. I remember this very, very clearly. We talked about it at the dinner table many times. We found the variety of cultures in Europe stimulating.


message 12: by Erma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erma Odrach Yes,I agree totally.


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