Putin's War on Ukraine Reading List

By air, land, and sea, Vladimir Putin has launched a devastating attack on Ukraine, a European democracy of 44 million people. Its forces are bombing city centres and closing in on the capital, Kyiv, prompting a mass exodus of refugees. For months, President Vladimir Putin denied he would invade his neighbour, but then he tore up a peace deal and unleashed what Germany calls "Putin's war," pouring forces into Ukraine's north, east and south. As the number of dead climbs, Russia's leader stands accused of shattering peace in Europe. What happens next could jeopardise the continent's entire security structure.BBC News

This list, comprised of non-fiction, fiction, and poetry about Ukraine and Russia, was culled from an extensive web search. These are books we have in stock, some you can order from us to receive in about a week's time, and some new releases soon to arrive to our bookshelves.


Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster By Adam Higginbotham Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501134630
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - February 4th, 2020

A powerful investigation into Chernobyl and how propaganda, secrecy, and myth have obscured the true story of one of the history’s worst nuclear disasters.

Manual for Survival: An Environmental History of the Chernobyl Disaster By Kate Brown Cover Image
Email info@literatibookstore.com or call for price
ISBN: 9780393357769
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 17th, 2020

After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, international aid organizations sought to help the victims but were stymied by post-Soviet political roadblocks. Efforts to gain access to the site of catastrophic radiation damage were denied, and the residents of Chernobyl were given no answers as their lives hung in the balance. Drawing on a decade of archival research and on-the-ground interviews in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, Kate Brown unveils the full breadth of the devastation and the whitewash that followed. Her findings make clear the irreversible impact of man-made radioactivity on every living thing; and hauntingly, they force us to confront the untold legacy of decades of weapons-testing and other catastrophic nuclear incidents.

I Will Die in a Foreign Land By Kalani Pickhart Cover Image
ISBN: 9781953387080
Availability: Backordered
Published: Two Dollar Radio - October 19th, 2021

The 2014 Ukrainian revolution provided a pretense for Russia to annex Crimea. The novel follows the experiences of several characters whose lives intersect as the country's political situation deteriorates. There's a Ukrainian-American doctor, an old KGB spy, a former mine worker, among others, in episodes interspersed with folk songs, news reports and historical notes.

Lucky Breaks By Yevgenia Belorusets, Eugene Ostashevsky (Translated by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780811229845
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - March 1st, 2022

Out of the impoverished coal regions of Ukraine known as the Donbass, where Russian secret military intervention coexists with banditry and insurgency, the women of Yevgenia Belorusets’s captivating collection of stories emerge from the ruins of a war, still being waged on and off, ever since the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. In this novel, through a series of unexpected encounters, we are pulled into the ordinary lives of these anonymous women: a florist, a cosmetologist, card players, readers of horoscopes, the unemployed, and a witch who catches newborns with a mitt.

The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine By Serhii Plokhy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781541675643
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Basic Books - May 25th, 2021

As Ukraine is embroiled in an ongoing struggle with Russia to preserve its territorial integrity and political independence, celebrated historian Serhii Plokhy explains that today’s crisis is a case of history repeating itself: the Ukrainian conflict is only the latest in a long history of turmoil over Ukraine’s sovereignty. Situated between Central Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, Ukraine has been shaped by empires that exploited the nation as a strategic gateway between East and West—from the Romans and Ottomans to the Third Reich and the Soviet Union.

Between Two Fires: Truth, Ambition, and Compromise in Putin's Russia By Joshua Yaffa Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524760601
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - May 4th, 2021

With sensitivity and depth, Yaffa profiles the director of the country’s main television channel, an Orthodox priest at war with the church hierarchy, a Chechen humanitarian who turns a blind eye to persecutions, and many others. The result is an intimate and probing portrait of a nation that is much discussed yet little understood. By showing how citizens shape their lives around the demands of a capricious and frequently repressive state—as often by choice as under threat of force—Yaffa offers urgent lessons about the true nature of modern authoritarianism.

Staff Pick Badge
Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism By Anne Applebaum Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984899507
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - June 22nd, 2021

From the United States and Britain to continental Europe and beyond, liberal democracy is under siege, while authoritarianism is on the rise. In Twilight of Democracy, Anne Applebaum, an award-winning historian of Soviet atrocities who was one of the first American journalists to raise an alarm about antidemocratic trends in the West, explains the lure of nationalism and autocracy. 

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century By Timothy Snyder Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804190114
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - February 28th, 2017

On Tyranny is a call to arms and a guide to resistance, with invaluable ideas for how we can preserve our freedoms in the uncertain years to come. Timothy Snyder reasons with unparalleled clarity, throwing the past and future into sharp relief. He has written the rare kind of book that can be read in one sitting but will keep you coming back to help regain your bearings.” — Masha Gessen

Here, Right Matters: An American Story By Alexander Vindman Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063079427
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: Harper - August 3rd, 2021

0900, Thursday, July 25, 2019: President Trump called Ukraine’s President Zelensky, supposedly to congratulate him on his recent victory. In the months that followed, the American public would only learn what happened on that call because Alexander Vindman felt duty-bound to report it up the chain of command: that the President of the United States had extorted a foreign ally to damage a political challenger at home. Vindman’s actions and subsequent testimony before congress would lead to Trump’s impeachment and affirm Vindman's belief that he had done the right thing in the face of intense pressure to stay silent. But it would come at an enormous cost, straining relationships with colleagues, superiors, and even his own father, and eventually end his decorated career in the US Army, by a Trump administration intent on retribution.

A New Orthography: Poems By Serhiy Zhadan, John Hennessy (Translator), Ostap Kin (Translator) Cover Image
By Serhiy Zhadan, John Hennessy (Translator), Ostap Kin (Translator)
ISBN: 9781733340038
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: Lost Horse Press - February 28th, 2020

A New Orthography is Serhiy Zhadan's 5th volume in Lost Horse Press's Contemporary Ukrainian Poetry Series. The poet focuses on daily life during the Russo-Ukrainian war, rendering intimate portraits of the country's residents as they respond to crisis.

Surviving Autocracy By Masha Gessen Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593332245
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - June 1st, 2021

This incisive book provides an essential guide to understanding and recovering from the calamitous corrosion of American democracy over the past few years. Thanks to the special perspective that is the legacy of a Soviet childhood and two decades covering the resurgence of totalitarianism in Russia, Masha Gessen has a 6th sense for the manifestations of autocracy—and the unique cross-cultural fluency to delineate their emergence to Americans. Surviving Autocracy is an inventory of ravages and a call to account but also a beacon to recovery—and to the hope of what comes next.

The Master and Margarita: 50th-Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) By Mikhail Bulgakov, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by), Boris Fishman (Foreword by), Christopher Conn Askew (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mikhail Bulgakov, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by), Boris Fishman (Foreword by), Christopher Conn Askew (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780143108276
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: Penguin Classics - May 3rd, 2016

Nothing in the whole of literature compares with The Master and Margarita. One spring afternoon, the Devil, trailing fire and chaos in his wake, weaves himself out of the shadows and into Moscow. Mikhail Bulgakov’s fantastical, funny, and devastating satire of Soviet life combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem, each brimming with historical, imaginary, frightful, and wonderful characters. Written during the darkest days of Stalin’s reign, and finally published in 1966 and 1967, The Master and Margarita became a literary phenomenon, signaling artistic and spiritual freedom for Russians everywhere.

Everything Flows By Vasily Grossman, Robert Chandler (Introduction by), Robert Chandler (Translated by), Elizabeth Chandler (Translated by), Anna Aslanyan (Translated by) Cover Image
By Vasily Grossman, Robert Chandler (Introduction by), Robert Chandler (Translated by), Elizabeth Chandler (Translated by), Anna Aslanyan (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781590173282
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - December 1st, 2009

This novel is the story of Anna Sergeyevna who tells about her eager involvement as an activist in the Terror famine of 1932–33, which led to the deaths of three to five million Ukrainian peasants.Everything Flows attains an unbearable lucidity comparable to the last cantos of Dante’s Inferno.

Eight Days at Yalta: How Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin Shaped the Post-War World By Diana Preston Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802148599
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - February 16th, 2021

While some of the last battles of WWII were being fought, U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin—the so-called “Big Three”—met from February 4-11, 1945, in the Crimean resort town of Yalta. This is the account of that meeting.

Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present By Ruth Ben-Ghiat Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393868418
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 5th, 2021

Ruth Ben-Ghiat is the expert on the "strongman" playbook employed by authoritarian demagogues from Mussolini to Putin, enabling her to predict with uncanny accuracy the recent experience in America.

On Our Way Home from the Revolution: Reflections on Ukraine (21st Century Essays) By Sonya Bilocerkowycz Cover Image
ISBN: 9780814255438
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mad Creek Books - September 23rd, 2019

In these linked essays, Bilocerkowycz invites readers to meet a swirling cast of post-Soviet characters, including a Russian intelligence officer who finds Osama bin Laden a few weeks after 9/11; a Ukrainian poet whose nose gets broken by Russian separatists; and a long-lost relative who drives a bus into the heart of Chernobyl. On Our Way Home from the Revolution muddles our easy distinctions between innocence and culpability, agency and fate.

Ukraine and Russia By Paul D'Anieri Cover Image
ISBN: 9781108713955
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cambridge University Press - October 31st, 2019

D'Anieri explores the dynamics within Ukraine, between Ukraine and Russia, and between Russia and the West, that emerged with the collapse of the Soviet Union and eventually led to war in 2014. Proceeding chronologically, this book shows how Ukraine's separation from Russia in 1991, at the time called a 'civilized divorce', led to what many are now calling 'a new Cold War'. He argues that the conflict has worsened because of three underlying factors - the security dilemma, the impact of democratization on geopolitics, and the incompatible goals of a post-Cold War Europe. Rather than a peaceful situation that was squandered, D'Anieri argues that these were deep-seated pre-existing disagreements that could not be bridged, with concerning implications for the resolution of the Ukraine conflict. The book also shows how this war fits into broader patterns of contemporary international conflict and should therefore appeal to researchers working on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Russia's relations with the West, and conflict and geopolitics more generally.

Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets By Svetlana Alexievich, Bela Shayevich (Translated by) Cover Image
By Svetlana Alexievich, Bela Shayevich (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780399588822
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - March 21st, 2017

The nonfiction volume that has done the most to deepen the emotional understanding of Russia during and after the collapse of the Soviet Union of late is Svetlana Alexievich’s oral history Secondhand Time.” — David Remnick, The New Yorker

Grey Bees By Andrey Kurkov, Boris Dralyuk (Translator) Cover Image
By Andrey Kurkov, Boris Dralyuk (Translator)
ISBN: 9781646051663
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - March 29th, 2022

With a warm yet political humor, Ukraine’s most famous novelist presents a balanced and illuminating portrait of modern conflict. Little Starhorodivka, a village of three streets, lies in Ukraine's Grey Zone, the no-man's-land between loyalist and separatist forces. Thanks to the lukewarm war of sporadic violence and constant propaganda that has been dragging on for years, only two residents remain: retired safety inspector turned beekeeper Sergey Sergeyich and Pashka, a rival from his schooldays. With little food and no electricity, under constant threat of bombardment, Sergeyich's one remaining pleasure is his bees. As spring approaches, he knows he must take them far from the Grey Zone so they can collect their pollen in peace. This simple mission on their behalf introduces him to combatants and civilians on both sides of the battle lines: loyalists, separatists, Russian occupiers and Crimean Tatars. Wherever he goes, Sergeyich's childlike simplicity and strong moral compass disarm everyone he meets.

Carbide By Andriy Lyubka, Reilly Costigan-Humes (Translator), Isaac Stachouse Wheeler (Translator) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780993446740
Availability: Backordered
Published: Jantar Publishing - August 1st, 2022

A drunken teacher dreams up a hairbrained scheme to dig a tunnel from Ukraine to Hungary to force the EU to grant Ukraine admission by smuggling its entire population into a member country.

Life and Fate By Vasily Grossman, Robert Chandler (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Vasily Grossman, Robert Chandler (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781590172018
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: NYRB Classics - May 16th, 2006

A book judged so dangerous in the Soviet Union that not only the manuscript but the ribbons on which it had been typed were confiscated by the state. Life and Fate is an epic tale of World War II and a profound reckoning with the dark forces that dominated the 20th century. Interweaving a transfixing account of the battle of Stalingrad with the story of a single middle-class family, the Shaposhnikovs, scattered by fortune from Germany to Siberia, Vasily Grossman fashions an immense, intricately detailed tapestry depicting a time of almost unimaginable horror and even stranger hope. This novel of unsparing realism and visionary moral intensity is one of the supreme achievements of modern Russian literature.


Everything Is Illuminated By Jonathan Safran Foer Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544484009
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - April 14th, 2015

Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war, an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior, and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past in this 2015 novel. “Imagine a novel as verbally cunning as ‘A Clockwork Orange’, as harrowing as ‘The Painted Bird’, as exuberant and twee as ‘Candide’, and you have ‘Everything Is Illuminated’. . . Read it, and you'll feel altered, chastened—seared in the fire of something new.” — Washington Post

Ukraine: What Everyone Needs to Know(r) By Serhy Yekelchyk Cover Image
ISBN: 9780197532119
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - October 1st, 2020

In the American media, Ukraine has come to signify an inherently corrupt place, rather than a real country struggling in the face of great challenges. Ukraine: What Everyone Needs to Know is an updated edition of Serhy Yekelchyk's 2015 publication, The Conflict in Ukraine. It addresses Ukraine's relations with the West, particularly the United States, from the perspective of Ukrainians. This volume is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the forces that have shaped contemporary politics in this increasingly important part of Europe, as well as the international background of the impeachment proceedings in the US.

Dead Souls: A Novel (Vintage Classics) By Nikolai Gogol, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by) Cover Image
By Nikolai Gogol, Richard Pevear (Translated by), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780679776444
Availability: Usually Available in 2-5 Days
Published: Vintage - March 25th, 1997

Since its publication in 1842, Dead Souls has been celebrated as a supremely realistic portrait of provincial Russian life and as a splendidly exaggerated tale; as a paean to the Russian spirit and as a remorseless satire of imperial Russian venality, vulgarity, and pomp. As Gogol's wily antihero, Chichikov, combs the back country wheeling and dealing for "dead souls" (deceased serfs who still represent money to anyone sharp enough to trade in them) we are introduced to a Dickensian cast of peasants, landowners, and conniving petty officials, few of whom can resist the seductive illogic of Chichikov's proposition.