Recommendations from our site
“The power comes from the stories themselves, the people she found and talked to. Some are in the Caucasus and different parts of the country, people trapped in different Republics, who then face terrible discrimination and have undergone horrible experiences. There are others who, at the time property rights were being established, had their houses or apartments stolen from them by mafia groups. In some ways, this book is backward looking because it’s reminding people how fast Russia has changed and how many people that change has left behind. It’s about how dark the lives are of some of those people, who were brought up in a completely different environment. The book doesn’t have a traditional narrative structure. It’s not one you read in a straightforward way. It’s one you dip into, or pick up and become absorbed by for an hour or so and then step away from. But as a piece of reportage, it’s an extraordinary achievement.” Read more...
Stephanie Flanders, Economist
Why put Nobel prize-winning Svetlana Alexievich’s Secondhand Time on a list of the best Moon landing books? Because the Soviet achievements in space were such an important driver of the Apollo programme. This book is not about the Soviet space programme per se, but Alexievich’s description of how the Soviet people reacted when Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space is one of the most unforgettable passages of nonfiction writing we’ve read.