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Starred Review. In this searing journey through a traumatized Chechnya, two children orphaned by the civil war—Timur, a violent street urchin, and his sister Liana, a waif molested by her uncle who becomes a kleptomaniac—symbolize their country's agony, abandonment and lingering dysfunctions. Norwegian journalist Seierstad (The Bookseller of Kabul) includes them in a gallery of portraits drawn from her reporting—sometimes undercover—from the region. These include a kindly childless woman who runs Grozny's last orphanage; a Russian soldier suffering from brain damage caused by a rebel mine; survivors of Stalin's expulsion of the Chechens to Kazakhstan in WWII; and a family whose daughter joined an Islamist sect and died in the spectacular terrorist takeover of a Moscow theater. Even more disturbing is her chilling, absurdist depiction of the regime of Moscow-backed Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov, which combines torture and disappearances with a saccharine cult of personality. (One of Kadyrov's youth groups distributed roses on his behalf to every woman in Grozny.) There are many victims but few heroes; the author finds chauvinism and Islamist misogyny to be among the reliable reflexes of the dispossessed in this wounded society. Seierstad's vivid, unsparing reportage makes this distant tragedy very personal. (Sept.)
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Seierstad, the author of "The Bookseller of Kabul," first visited Chechnya in 1995, shortly after Russian tanks rolled in. Twelve years later, as another war gave way to a dubious, corrupt peace, she returned, at one point hiding her blond hair and dying her eyebrows and lashes to sneak across the border. This is a chronicle of reciprocal destruction: Seierstad talks to Chechen rebels and to victims of Russian torture; to the mother of a terrorist and the mother of a maimed Russian soldier; to a family that lost four sons to the war and to street children who prove too damaged even for the "angel" of the title, who runs a home for war orphans. At times, Seierstad's persona is intrusive; when the Chechen President praises her looks, she tells us. But she is a humane witness to a dehumanizing conflict, and recent developments in the Caucasus make her testament all the more timely.
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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... Read more
My wife had this glued to her hands until it was finished! Apparently an insightful tale that will make you look at life in a different light.Published 14 months ago by online4ever
The book was easy to read and was difficult to put down. I loved it but it was difficult to hear the stories. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Cindy Craig
I stumbled across this book of a forgotten chapter of recent history by accident and could not put it down! Read morePublished 18 months ago by Bob Graham
As always with whatever I order from Amazon, the book arrived very quickly. It was new and in excellent shape. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Kathleen Adler
This writer doesn't hold anything back - She isn't interested in the palatable version of historical events, but personalizes and makes clear the impact of political acts on... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Catherine W Munsee
Very interesting read. Was fascinated by the early chapters where Seierstad writes of how she entered a war zone and then how she subsequently snuck into the country undetected to... Read morePublished on August 9, 2013 by Tony Ukena
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... Read morePublished on March 21, 2013 by Michael Griswold