Cover of a recently released German book about displaced persons.

German publication documents displaced persons of World War II

PHILADELPHIA – Toward the end of 2016 the German publishing house Verlag Jörg Mitzkat published a 360-page illustrated and well-documented study by Ernst Würzburger titled “Zwangsarbeit im Kreis Höxter: Fremdarbeiter. Displaced Persons. Heimatlose Ausländer“ (Forced Labor in the Höxter Region: Foreign Workers. Displaced Persons. Stateless Foreigners).


World War II-era memoir is much more than that

“Borders, Bombs, and… Two Right Shoes; World War II through the Eyes of a Ukrainian Child Refugee Survivor,” by Larissa Zaleska Onyshkevych. Charleston, S.C.: Create Space, 2016. 222 pp. ISBN: 0692746544. Price $10.


A study of Ukraine’s democratization and impediments to its realization

“Ukraine: Democratization, Corruption and the New Russian Imperialism,” by Taras Kuzio. Santa Barbara: Praeger Security International, 2015, ISBN-10: 1440835020. XXVI+613 pp., maps, bibliography, index, $75. Most recent analytical studies relating to contemporary Ukrainian history are set within the context of East-West relations or within the history or geopolitics of the region. Missing so far is a more profound insight into the internal dynamics of contemporary Ukrainian history.


An oral history reveals the heart and soul of a people

“Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets,” by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Bela Shayevich. New York: Random House, 2016. 498 pp. ISBN: 9780399. $30 (Amazon: $16.34; e-book $15.99)

Over the decades I’ve read many books, before and after the collapse of the USSR. These books would describe the great events, the leaders, the wars, the financial shenanigans, but reading them was like getting all the nutritional and marketing information on a food product but never being able to taste it.


On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder

“On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century,” by Timothy Snyder. New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-8041-9011-4. 128 p. $7.99 (e-book, ISBN: 978-0-8041-9012-1. $3.99)

Historian Timothy Snyder’s latest book, “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century,” is a short pocket-sized book of 127 pages broken down into 20 chapters.


A house we know and love

“Kazka pro Malenku Khatu bilia Maloho Lisu” (Tale of the Little House by the Little Woods), by Luba Gawur. Kyiv: Smoloskyp, 2016. 46 pp, $15. As many published memoirs about the Ukrainian Displaced Persons appear on the scene, this small 46-page book (in Ukrainian), “Tale of the Little House by the Little Woods,” by Luba Gawur is a unique gem. It is not a summary of historical events, but rather an introspective reflection on universal experiences and emotional upheavals of many post-World War II Ukrainian refugees.


Novel about Shevchenko

“The Exile: A Novel About Taras Shevchenko,” by Zinaida Tulub, English translation by Anatole Bilenko. London, England: Glagoslav Publications Ltd., 2015. 444 pp. ISBN: 978-1-7837-961-2, $34.27 hardbound,  $26.65 paperback, $9.99 Kindle e-book. Author Zinaida Tulub spent a period of time living in exile in Kazakhstan in 1947-1956, during which she gave much thought to writing about Taras Shevchenko’s time in exile there approximately a century earlier.


Collection of songs about the war in Ukraine

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – During periods of Ukraine’s history when the country and its people were under attack, and thousands laid down their lives in their defense, the national creative spirit manifested itself in songs about the fight and its heroes. That was the case with Kozak ballads and songs about the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen (Sichovi Striltsi) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Armyj (UPA). The current war also has inspired Ukrainian poets and musicians to compose songs about the fight against Russia’s aggression. Events like the Maidan, the Revolution of Dignity, the Heavenly Hundred, the Donetsk cyborgs, as well as the heroism of soldiers, the sacrifices of their families and the dedication of thousands of volunteers are the themes of these songs. A select number of Ukrainian singers and musical groups have produced a new CD with patriotic songs about the war in eastern Ukraine.


A memoir about a World War II childhood

“Borders, Bombs, and… Two Right Shoes,” World War II through the Eyes of a Ukrainian Child Refugee Survivor, by Larissa Zaleska Onyshkevych. Charleston, S.C.: CreateSpace, an company, 2016. ISBN: 0692746544; ISBN-13: 9780692746547. 222 pp. $10.