Zinky Boys

  • by Svetlana Alexievich, Julia Whitby - translator, Robin Whitby - translator, Larry Heinemann - introduction
  • Narrated by Christine Marshall
  • 7 hrs and 1 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Nobel Prize: "For her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time." (Swedish Academy, Nobel Prize citation)
From 1979 to 1989 a million Soviet troops engaged in a devastating war in Afghanistan that claimed 50,000 casualties - and the youth and humanity of many tens of thousands more. Creating controversy and outrage when it was first published in the USSR - it was called by reviewers there a "slanderous piece of fantasy" and part of a "hysterical chorus of malign attacks" - Zinky Boys presents the candid and affecting testimony of the officers and grunts, nurses and prostitutes, mothers, sons, and daughters who describe the war and its lasting effects. What emerges is a story that is shocking in its brutality and revelatory in its similarities to the American experience in Vietnam. The Soviet dead were shipped back in sealed zinc coffins (hence the term "Zinky Boys"), while the state denied the very existence of the conflict. Svetlana Alexievich brings us the truth of the Soviet-Afghan War: the beauty of the country and the savage Army bullying, the killing and the mutilation, the profusion of Western goods, the shame and shattered lives of returned veterans. Zinky Boys offers a unique, harrowing, and unforgettably powerful insight into the realities of war. The introduction has been omitted due to rights issues.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Why a female narrator?

What did you love best about Zinky Boys?

It's a deeply moving, grunt's eye view of the Soviet-Afghan conflict.

What other book might you compare Zinky Boys to and why?

Reminded me very much at times of WAR by Sebastian Younger, but it's all first-person accounts.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Christine Marshall?

Absolutely. In fact, my only complaint with this book is that they chose a female narrator. The bulk of these accounts are from Soviet soldiers. This book desperately needed a male narrator. I was able to get past the performance, but a male narrator would have vastly improved the final product.

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- Brian English "benglish2004"

Brilliant accounting of a terrible war

Military leadership in Russia and everywhere should read this book. It describes the tragedy and useless loss of lives on foreign soil. Russians go home. One 18 year old after another, ill prepared for war, is killed and sent home in a zinc coffin to forever change and often ruin the lives of those Mothers and family left behind.
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- Mary C Hinckley

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-25-2016
  • Publisher: Audible Studios