by Vasily Grossman and translated by Robert Chandler
Life and Fate, the masterpiece by Soviet writer Vasily Grossman, is one of our most recommended books (including in history book interviews—even though it’s a novel). Modeled on Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Grossman brought into it his experience as a journalist, accompanying the Red Army at major battles, including Stalingrad and Berlin. He was also among the first to enter Treblinka and witness firsthand the horrors of the Holocaust. Sadly for Grossman, the book was considered too harmful to be published in his lifetime.
If you want to listen to Life and Fate as an audiobook, there’s no unabridged version, BUT there is a dramatised version, starring Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant, that lasts a manageable 8 hours.
(Stalingrad is the precursor to Life and Fate, newly translated into English.)