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The angel of Grozny : orphans of a forgotten war
Asne Seierstad
Adult Nonfiction DK511.C37 S44513 2008

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

The best-selling author of The Bookseller of Kabul here provides a dark look at the plight of children abused and orphaned by war in Chechnya. Equal parts history, biography, and ethnography, the text documents Seierstad's travels into the war-torn region, for periods from 1994 through 2006, giving firsthand accounts of the lives of both Russians and Chechens under an ever-changing banner of presidents, rebels, and pseudoleaders. Heavily laden with the history of the conflict, the story focuses mainly on the Chechen woman (referenced in the title) who, unable to have children, has taken in hundreds of orphans during a war that has not yet ended. With haunting, occasionally melodic, occasionally clinical prose (at least as translated by Christensen), Seierstad reveals how knowing nothing but anger, poverty, and conflict can damage the psyche of a child and how a mother's love is sometimes enough to change a life--but sometimes is not. The ending is far from happy, and it reminds readers that there is more than one war happening in our world today. For both public and academic libraries.--Jenny Seftas, Southwest Florida Coll., Ft. Myers, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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