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ცინკის ბიჭები

(Voices of Utopia #3)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  8,455 ratings  ·  1,156 reviews
სვეტლანა ალექსიევიჩს მკითხველამდე მოაქვს ავღანეთგამოვლილთა შიშველი ემოციები და, ამიტომაც, თარგმანში შენარჩუნებულია როგორც ინტონაციები, ისე დაულაგებელი ფრაგმენტული შთაბეჭდილებები და შეფასებები ომზე, რომელმაც უმძიმესი კვალი დაამჩნია პერსონაჟების ცხოვრებას. წიგნში შესულია ოქმები სასამართო პროცესებიდან, რომელიც "ცინკის ბიჭების" გამოცემის შემდეგ გამიართა ბელარუსში. პროცესებზე ა ...more
456 pages
Published 2017 by არტანუჯი (first published 1989)
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 ·  8,455 ratings  ·  1,156 reviews


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Jim
I remember back in the '70s having to sit through long presentations regarding the Soviet Union and the military might thereof. These briefings were given by American military personnel and the general theme was that the Soviet Union was an evil empire, armed to the teeth. It seemed that they had endless munitions and hordes of personnel under arms, all of whom wanted our stuff. They had no stuff in the Soviet Union, we were told, and they would be coveting our stuff, which we had in abundance. ...more
Naeem
I could not and still cannot read this book for more than 10 pages at a time. I put it down, wipe my tears, walk around the house a few times, and get back to it with some wariness. One of my friends/students once said to me, "Never, never teach a class on Afghanistan without this book." Or for that matter on war.

The love of a mother for her son (and sometimes daughter) has never, for me, been so strongly conveyed as in this book. The fear and idealism of the soldier never opened up so carefull
...more
BlackOxford
The Enduring Shame of War

War is a nightmare. It remains a nightmare longest for those soldiers who have survived it. The truth is that they don’t survive it, they re-live it one way or another for the rest of their lives. And what they re-live is exactly what all combat soldiers do: the utter absurdity of what they have accomplished.

So this book, although written in 1990 reporting the thoughts, memories and regrets of young Russian soldiers and surviving family members, female civilian employee
...more
E. G.
Prologue
From the Notebooks


--Boys in Zinc

Post Mortem
'Boys in Zinc' on Trial
...more
Jonathan
Sep 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cold-war
Visceral, searing, and full of emotion. Svetlana found herself "having" to write this book, I think. She opens the book with her going to Afghanistan and not wanting to cover yet another war after her emotional experience in publishing War's Unwomanly Face. She, however, realized these people's stories had to be told, especially with the at-home propaganda machine churning out nonsense like "Our brave international soldiers are planting trees, paving roads, and helping the Afghan people."

Much l
...more
PGR Nair
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ZINKY BOYS: A REQUIEM TO THE REMEMBERED

When I read a few days ago in Ladbroke betting site that Svetlana Alexievich, the great Belarusian writer, is topping as a probable candidate for 2015 Nobel prize for literature, I felt a palpitation in my heart. Ever since I read her book Zinky Boys, I have been a great fan of this writer. Now that she has won the prize, my joy knows no bounds as she is a truly deserving writer to win Nobel Prize. I own two books of her-Zinky Boys and Voices from Cherneob
...more
Martin
Oct 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What made this book so powerful, so heartbreaking, was its simplicity. In Zinky Boys, Russian journalist Svetlana Alexievich interviews the mothers, widows, civilians and soldiers whose lives were destroyed by the USSR's ten year war in Afghanistan. The 197 pages are filled with dozens of short interviews which left me close to tears, depressed, imagining myself burying a son or thinking what it would take to kill without judgment.

Page 23. An army nurse recalls, "Sometimes we massacred a whole v
...more
Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)
A brutal look at the Afghanistan war of the 1980s, as told from the Soviet perspective. Alexievich is a journalist (the book is mostly interviews of soldiers, civilian employees, mothers, and widows affected by the war), but it's clear that she presents these responses for her own narrative and rhetorical purposes. Even if you have no interest in this specific war, this book is an utterly compelling look at so many things: the mentality of obeying orders without questioning them (a particular ta ...more
Adam Dalva
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good collection of monologues from Soviet participants in the Afghanistan War - full of insight and depressing reality, and often quite beautiful. I think this fell a bit short of the truly excellent VOICES FROM CHERNOBYL, both with its slightly clunkier frame and its more universal backdrop. While Chernobyl is unique, war is horrifically usual, and so we're somewhat more inured to the tragic arc of the narratives here. That does not rob this book of its notable power, but it did diminish t ...more
John
Sep 17, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"We were summoned by the commanding officer and asked: ‘How would you like to work with some brand new vehicles?’
Naturally, we all chorused back: ‘Yes! That’s what we dream of.’
‘Only first you have to go to the virgin lands and help harvest the grain.’
They lined us up and immediately announced that a plane would arrive in a few hours’ time to collect us – we were being sent to the Republic of Afghanistan to perform our military duty. To fulfil our oath. All hell broke loose! Fear and panic turn
...more
MiM Metwally
Nov 17, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kobo
My fourth book in Non Fiction November, and my second book for Svetlana, whom I discovered with 'Voices from Chernobyl' which I found after watching the Netflix series...
This book would be my first indepth reading about the Afghan war, I've been exposed to Afghanistan before while reading 'The Kite Runner' and 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' for Khaled ElHusseini, but that was on a fictional base, giving a general picture of what the country was before and what it became to after the russians left an
...more
Anna
Apr 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is going to sound rather peculiar, but I was expecting to be more devastated by this book. The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II and Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future fully knocked me flat; I had to stop and read gentler books part-way through to cope. Perhaps the pandemic has significantly desensitised me to human suffering, or maybe I just don't have the same level of context for 'Boys In Zinc'. I haven't read any other books about the Soviet invasi ...more
Sidharth Vardhan

"‘I cried when I read your article, but I shan’t read the whole book, because of an elementary sense of self-preservation. I’m not sure whether we ought to know so much about ourselves. Perhaps it’s just too frightening. It leaves a great void in my soul. You begin to lose faith in your fellow-man and fear him instead.’"

This is the second book I have that is written by Svetlana Alexievich and her books really do make me wonder about why I read. On one hand, her books are about truth - and pl
...more
Al
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was young, for a while I wanted to be a historian. I was fascinated by the past, but particularly by individuals. I remember writing a sweeping story from the point of view of Robespierre, his life, loves, even his mum. My teacher gave me a shit grade and told me history is not about people, but about events.
Over two weeks I just read Boys in Zinc, and A Chernobyl Prayer. This is a review for both books. I almost stopped reading after the first account in A Chernobyl Prayer. The pain of
...more
Jonfaith
This oral history of the Soviet War in Afghanistan is especially grim and probing. Interviewing widows, surviving parents and amputees, the author shows effectively the discrepancy between state patriotic policy and the reality of those who served in the conflict. The systemic abuse of women was especially unsettling. Nurses are sexually mistreated without recourse. When they were able to return home, their complaints are met with: what did you expect? It was also interesting to consider what ha ...more
Elo
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It is a human right not to kill. Not to learn to kill. A right that is not recorded in a single constitution." ...more
Sean Wilson
Not many books have had me wiping tears from my eyes. However, some of the harrowing stories told by these soldiers and mothers whose lives were irrecoverably damaged by the 'political error', later called a 'crime', that was the Soviet-Afghan War had my eyes filled with tears. Svetlana Alexievich's Boys in Zinc documents this tragic history that pretty much brought down the Soviet Union.

These 'live voices, live destinies', as described by Svetlana Alexievich, paint the raw and gruesome reality
...more
Daniil
Oct 14, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just like Чeрнобыльская Молитва (Voices from Chernobyl), this book brings out a chorus of voices previously often unheard, unwanted, forbidden or disregarded. Voices of multiple INDIVIDUALS, directly affected by the war - physically, psychologically, emotionally. Voices, most of which have been kept to themselves, for what they have to reveal is too deep and personal, too painful, or sometimes too dangerous to be shared lightly. Цинковыe Мальчики (Zinky Boys) is an eye opener on sides of war tha ...more
Michael Perkins
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive." (Sherlock Holmes upon first meeting Dr. Watson).

=========

I recall thinking when I saw the Soviets mired in Afghanistan in the 1980's that it was their Vietnam. Turns out the author of the Introduction of the English translation of this book, a Vietnam vet and reporter, makes that same analogy. The experience of their soldiers (Afgantsi) were remarkably similar to American grunts in Vietnam. War is Hell, no matter where it happens.

The Afgantsi were ref
...more
Richard Newton
This is a shocking book. About a war fought for limited reason and gain, in which 15,000 or so Soviet troops died and many more were injured, and some unknown number of Afghan's died (usually estimated at over 1 million). It shows the full unpleasantness of war, especially a war fought often by unprepared troops with terrible equipment, cynically manipulated and often terribly abused by their own side. It is often both unpleasant and truly disturbing to read.

A comparison with Sebastian Junger's
...more
Nick
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sveltana Alexievich is among that rare breed of writers who has the distinction of inventing a genre. It isn't really oral history--the statements too concise, too prone to arrive at a well-expressed point for that and I recall a more careful reader pointing out a bit of repetitiveness in one of her other books: not the kind resulting from slopping editing but the kind that comes from a single mind articulating the same point. That said, the veterans, widows and parents of dead soldiers whose vo ...more
Leftbanker
Apr 09, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, war
Dissent was in short supply in the former Soviet Union, and now Russia. Putin seems nostalgic not so much for the “Russian Empire” (And yes, I think we can call it that with a straight face, to steal a line from the forward) but for the repression and state control Soviet leaders enjoyed (and I think they probably did actually enjoy their total power).

Svetlana Alexievich’s account of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan is culled from the memories of soldiers and other people (nurses, advisers, mo
...more
Paltia
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For a thoughtful and intelligent review read keen’s. I have been left speechless and devastated. This is the kind of book that makes me want to throw a brick through a window. Damn it all.
Jim
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The tile refers to the zinc coffins in which the dead from the Soviet war in Afghanistan were returned to their families. There was usually no initial contact: A military contingent would show up at the parents' or widow's door with a zinc coffin.

Svetlana Alexievich received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2015 for her unique style of letting people speak for themselves. These included soldiers and civilians returned from the war, mothers, and widows.

Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from the Afghanis
...more
Berit Lundqvist
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This might be the most heart-breaking book that I’ve ever read. A choir of voices gives you the uncensored realities of war.

If you, like me, live in a country which hasn’t been to war for a very long time, the ability to imagine a war gets lost somewhere on the way. There is no one left to remember, no memories to share, and all the old tales are gone.

Sure, some people go to war as UN-soldiers, volunteer in the French Légion Étrangère or another foreign military force. But they are few, very fe
...more
Lubinka Dimitrova
A soul-crushing narrative about the absurdness and futility of war. Young boys and girls died, children were orphaned, women were widowed, mothers lost their precious boys and girls, and for what? All wars are irrational, but this particular one was among the most terribly pointless wars ever.

Humans ("Humans"?) are humanity's worst enemy, and books like this make me think that there's no hope for this planet.
...more
Will
Mar 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We never learn about the reality of war. We never hear about smashed, liquefied skulls or melting flesh. We never hear about the 18 year old Soviet boys, the future of the nation, who were sent to their deaths indiscriminately.

The Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979-1989) is seldom written or spoken about anymore, often glossed over just as Vietnam is. The parallels between the wars are nauseating. Millions of conscripts sent to fight senseless wars to prop up broken ideologies, drugs everywhere, b
...more
Paul Ataua
Aug 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was fascinating how Soviet Russia hid the real war from its citizens and sold it in terms of doing its international duty or spreading the good word of socialism, but not much different from what The US did in Vietnam, or the ‘allies’ did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Heart rendering descriptions of people’s experiences and stories of how war can make good men turn bad. Stories of someone who shot up a village after his friend was brutally killed by a villager or prisoners being escorted that neve ...more
Paul
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deeply humane, moving and horrific in equal measure, this is one of two documentary narratives about key events in the fall of the Soviet Union by the Belarusian writer. As with 'Chernobyl Prayer', its raw subject matter makes it difficult to read at times, but similarly, it should be required reading. The simple message that all sides are losers in war is brought home with relentless force. This book isn't about big battles or military strategy. Instead Alexievich makes clear the consequences f ...more
Alexander
Scary. It's really scary -- but I think that everybody has to read at least some book by Svetlana. Upon reading it you get a sort of vaccination against blind support for whatever the government feeds you with ("help establish Bla in that poor country", "we can't just watch, we have to step in", ...). Read and see what war does to people. I don't think that it's specific to [former] USSR and Afganistan -- it rather generic.

I won't be setting any rating -- the book is beyond this. It's not about
...more
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Svetlana Alexievich was born in Ivano Frankivsk, Ukraine. Her father was Belarusian and her mother Ukrainian. Alexievich grew up in Belarus, where both her parents were teachers. She studied to be a journalist at the University of Minsk and worked a teacher, journalist and editor. In Minsk she has worked at the newspaper Sel'skaja Gazeta, Alexievich's criticism of the political regimes in the Sovi ...more

Other books in the series

Voices of Utopia (5 books)
  • War's Unwomanly Face
  • آخر الشهود
  • Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
  • Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets

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