I will show you how it was The story of wartime Kyiv

Illia Ponomarenko

Book - 2024

"I Will Show You How It Was is Illia Ponomarenko's heart-wrenching memoir of the war on his homeland, offering a fiery diatribe against Russian hypocrisy and a moving look at what is being lost. But it's also a story of pride and even elation as Ukrainian forces come together, find their mojo, and oust the invaders from Kyiv. The most powerful and personal chronicle of the war to date, I Will Show You How It Was is an exceptional literary achievement, chronicling a stunning feat of resistance and a courageous people set on a miraculous victory"--

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Subjects
Genres
Personal narratives
Published
New York : Bloomsbury Publishing 2024.
Language
English
Main Author
Illia Ponomarenko (author)
Physical Description
272 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
ISBN
9781639733873
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Veteran defense and security reporter Ponomarenko was just settling into the new media venture he cofounded, the Kyiv Independent, when Russia started making unreasonable demands on his home country of Ukraine and then invaded, starting the biggest war in Europe since 1945. Ponomarenko brings to life in vivid detail what it was like on the ground before, during, and after the Russian onslaught on the capital city. Sprinkling American pop culture references (hat tip to the many Lord of the Rings quips) throughout the narrative, the author does precisely what the title states, making the reader feel the fear, uncertainty, and danger that the fog of war forces regular people to endure. Ponomarenko stands defiant in his tours of the front line and all that he witnessed, rhetorically spitting in the face of Russian aggression. The war in Ukraine is far from over, but this book faithfully covers the first half of 2022 and the tentative victory of the underdogs in Kyiv. Ponomarenko remains optimistic that Ukraine will resist until the end.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In this masterful blend of memoir and reportage, Ukrainian journalist Ponomarenko covers the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine with rigor and surprising wit. Determined to combat the "shameless lies" that Vladimir Putin used to justify Russia's assault on Kyiv, Ponomarenko shares his on-the-ground observations of Ukrainian resistance, highlighting how "the blitzkrieg plan that looked so good on paper and in TV propaganda suddenly hit a wall." Quotidian details, including worries some locals had about how difficult it would be to remove the tape that kept their windows from shattering during Russian shelling, or a mother's insistence on cooking elaborate meals for anyone sheltering with her, take on deeper meaning alongside Ponomarenko's unsparing descriptions of mass graves covered by "plastic sheeting stained with a mixture of dried gore and rainwater." Though president Volodymyr Zelensky, a former stand-up comedian, is portrayed as a surprisingly competent wartime leader, Ponomarenko also highlights his missteps ("We in Ukraine had a wonderful year and a half where the country's defense minister and top commander of armed forces couldn't be in the same room"). Such balanced takes and sardonic humor enliven the proceedings throughout. The results are lucid, stirring, and hard to shake. (May)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A remarkable on-the-ground report from the Battle of Kyiv in 2022. War reporting is perhaps the most difficult branch of journalism. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer drama: the blood and the thunder, the sense of history being written, the images and the noise. Ponomarenko, a Ukrainian journalist and co-founder of an online newspaper called the Kyiv Independent, makes no attempt to be impartial in his account of the roughly six-week battle for Kyiv, a city that he loved. "We were just moments away," he writes, "from bidding farewell to our home and our way of life." He kept posting his reports during and after the battle, describing the invasion as "one of the most tragic--and the most bizarre--events in modern history," serving as "the opening act of the biggest European bloodbath since 1945, and one of the most shamelessly trumped-up, absurd, and unnecessary wars the world had ever seen." The author mixes in pieces of the increasingly unbelievable statements from the Russian government, with Putin claiming victory even as his tanks were reduced to smoking wrecks. Ponomarenko notes that it was often hard to see through the fog of war, but the Russian attacks on the city's civilian precincts told their own stories. In fact, the slaughter of innocents merely hardened the resolve of the Ukrainian population to endure and fight. The author ends with the Russians retreating to their strongholds in the east. While he believes that Ukrainian forces will eventually prevail, the cost is massive. The book lives up to its title, with countless pages that are alternately heart-rending, stomach-churning, and even inspiring. This is an important story, and Ponomarenko tells it with passion and intelligence. A revelatory portrait of the horror and absurdity of the conflict spiked with much-needed threads of humanity and hope. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.