- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Mercury House (May 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1562790218
- ISBN-13: 978-1562790219
- Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.5 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,785,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Afghanistan: Soviet Vietnam
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From Publishers Weekly
In 1984 Tamarov, then 19, was drafted into the Soviet Army and posted to Afghanistan where he spent 20 months in a minesweeper outfit. Despite heavy operational responsibilities and danger, he managed to take artful photographs which capture the stark landscape, friendly and unfriendly Afghans and the men of his platoon in action and in repose. Minesweeping, according to Tamarov, was a highly respected assignment. Reason: "There were mines everywhere." The most haunting pictures are of the author's comrades, several of whom were killed by the mines they were disarming. In extended captions accompanying the photos, Tamarov expresses familiar but universally touching battlefield thoughts about fear, leadership, homesickness and comraderie. Returning home uninjured in 1986, the author subsequently traveled to the United States, met with Vietnam vets and paid his respects at the Wall on the Mall in Washington, D.C., sharing with his new acquaintances "something which others cannot understand." Tamarov is a freelance photographer in Saint Petersburgok? Saint Petersburg?/yikes, but a slip.gs .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The faces are hauntingly familiar--GIs at Khe Sanh or Chosin? Iraqi dead near Safwan? No. Soviet Army Afghantsi, airborn desantniki sent to Kabul to fight the "just" socialist fight. Tamarov, a veteran minesweeper at 19, chronicles his 621 days of war in this stunning personal account. More than a photographic essay, this evokes the microcosm of combat: the last image of a young soldier who dies hours later, the dust, the unshaven, the deadly simplicity of a directional shrapnel mine cradled like some votive offering. Victims, officers, killers, Mujahadeen prisoners: something in all of their eyes that is a frozen visual tragedy. Everyone should read this book. For all collections.
- John Yurechko, Georgetown Univ., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
Highly recommended to anyone interested in the emotional torture of war in the modern age.
The story is told in episodes - not as plot for it's own sake, but rather to communicate the range of emotions and intensity of fear unique to the battlefield soldier. Some of my favorite writing comes from letters sent home by Confederate and Union soldiers from America's civil war. These documents are important not because of the credentials or social standing of the writers, but instead because of the intensity of the experiences these writers were living. Vladislav Tamarov continues this venerable tradition and extends the genre to new depths of insight. Probably the most obvious lesson learned was that after such a prolonged ordeal, one cannot "go home again". The effects of fighting the fghan war changed Mr. Tamarov's values so much that he was unable to fit back into the life that he idolized and longed to survive long enough to resume. We all know many stories of disaffected soldiers who live out their lives on the bitter fringes of society. Mr. Tamarov provides hope not only through his own strength and resiliency, but, later in the book, by his activism and involvement with international veterans groups to improve the lives of men often forgotten by all of us.
A parallel story of maturation is told by the wonderful series of photographs that illustrate the book. These pictures chronicle not only the events in his story, but more importantly, give the reader a glimpse into the development of author's remarkable photographic artistic maturation. The photos give the book a visceral link to that timeless reality captured best by a photographer of Mr. Tamarov's skill. It certainly left me wanting to follow-up more of his later work.
I highly recommend Afghanistan A Russian Soldier's story. Because it is so personal, it resonates deeply with the universal things that unite us as humans. It is set against the backdrop of a futile war in a foreign land, and then home transformed into the unfamiliar. The development of his personal strength to transform his savage experience into something that makes him a stronger man is inspiring. I especially recommend this book to those who appreciate war memoirs, those who like books about personal transformation, and to all who love great photographs.