After informing you about Russian Children's literature and Russian Sci-Fi, I'm now going to make a list of Russian war literature. Judging by what I see people read about World War II around blogosphere it's as if Russia was not taking part in it, or Russia don't have writers, or people just don't know about all the wonderful books on the topic! Being a clever girl, I ruled out the first two possibilities and was left with a sad fact that readers are not acquainted with Russian war literature enough. (UPD: while searching for translations I realized that it's actually the publishers that are not acquainted with it enough. If you happen to know a publisher, please do everybody a favour and show him this list!)
So I've decided to list all the awesome books that tell first hand about the terrible period of WWII in Russia. But I needed some help myself remembering everything, so I asked my mom during my Christmas trip home, and being a seasoned bookworm, bookhoarder and an expert in Soviet literature, she was eager to help. Then I consulted my very well-read BF, who also added a couple of books. So here is the result of our combined efforts. I've sorted it according to the authors' last names and provided the most common translations of the titles.
- Abramov, Fyodor Aleksandrovich: Brothers and Sisters (1958) WWII from the point of view of a small village that needs not only to take care of its own needs, but also provide for the war in the absence of all its men.
- Bondarev, Yuri Vasilyevich: The Battalions Request Fire (1957), The Hot Snow (1969), The Shore (1975) The last one is a bit philosophical and very heartbreaking. The other two are extremely famous and tell about some of the hottest WWII battles in Russia.
- Chukovsky, Nicolay Korneevich: Baltic Skies (1955) The story of the pilots defending Leningrad during its siege.
- Fadeyev, Alexander Alexandrovich: The Young Guard (1945) An account of the actions of a youth partisan organization. Idealized, of course, but really engaging.
- German, Yuri Pavlovich: The Cause You Serve, My Dear Man, I'm Responsible For All (1958-1965) Although only the second book is about war, it’s a trilogy, so you’d better start from the beginning. It’s about a doctor who worked in the East before war and then became a war surgeon.
- Granin, Daniil Alexandrovich: A Book of the Blockade (1979) A chronicle based on interviews, diaries and personal memoirs of those who survived the siege of Leningrad during 1941-44. It’s very difficult to read because of all the horrors of the time, and I confess I’ve read only parts of it. But I promise I’ll do better, because it’s essential. My Lieutenant (2011) is one of his later works, and I haven’t read it yet, but my mom says it’s good. Basically, grab any book by him if you see it, he’s great.
- Grossman, Vasily Semyonovich: Life and Fate (1959) An epic novel focusing on the battle of Stalingrad
- Ilyina, Elena: The Fourth Height (1945) It’s my favourite childhood book which I have re-read several times. It’s a biography of a war hero Gulya Koroleva from her childhood to her heroic death in a battle.
- Kataev, Valentin Petrovich: Son of the Regiment (1945) About a boy adopted by a regiment. I have wonderful childhood memories of it!
- Kaverin, Veniamin Alexandrovich: The Two Captains (1944) An awesome novel about polar exploration, love and treason, which ends in the period of WWII.
- Kurochkin, Viktor Aleksandrovich: At War as at War (1970) How a young war academy graduate gains appreciation from his older and more experienced subordinates and becomes a real commander.
- Matveev, German Ivanovich: Tarantul trilogy (1945-1957) It’s about boys against saboteurs in a sieged Leningrad! Suspense, adventure, mystery, danger!
- Medvedev, Dmitry Nikolaevich: It Happened Near Rovno (1948) A story about a special troop of scouts and saboteurs working in the rear of German army.
- Nekrasov, Viktor Platonovich: Front-line Stalingrad (In the trenches of Stalingrad) (1946) A first-hand account of one of the most bloody battles of the war - the battle of Stalingrad
- Panova, Vera Fyodorovna: The Train (1946) About a medical train and its nurses.
- Pikul, Valentin Savvich: The Requiem for Convoy PQ-17 (1970), Boys with bows (1974) The first is a “documental tragedy” of one of the Arctic convoys, destroyed by German submarines and aviation. The second is autobiographical and tells about a sea cadet’s school.
- Polevoi, Boris Nikolaevich: Story of a Real Man (1947) The book is about a pilot who started flying again after the amputation of two legs. Mostly about strong character, and very impressive!
- Semyonov, Yulian Semyonovich: Seventeen Moments of Spring (1969) and all the rest of The “Isaev – Stierlitz” Series. Spy fiction, guys! And watch the mini-series of the same name, it’s awesome.
- Sholokhov, Mikhail Aleksandrovich: They Fought for Their Country (1969) A novel about the first, the hardest and the bitterest period of war – the period of retreat. Sholokhov won a Nobel prize for literature, so don’t miss on him!
- Simonov, Konstantin Mikhailovich: The Living and the Dead (1959) Simonov was a war journalist, so not only has he been everywhere and seen everything, he also really can write.
- Tvardovsky, Aleksandr Trifonovich: A Book About a Soldier (Vasili Tyorkin) (1942-45) A humorous and optimistic poem about an ordinary soldier, resourceful and plain, going resiliently through the everyday hardships of the war. A streak of comedy in all the tragedy!
- Vasilyev, Boris Lvovich: The Dawns Here Are Quiet (1972), Not on the Active List (1974), Tomorrow There Came War (1984) or really anything you can find by him. He’s awesome. I was crying like mad while reading The Dawns Here Are Quiet.
P.S. Special kudos for those who know what ribbon is used as a bookmark in the picture :) For those who have no idea, here's the link.