Want to know what books Vanora Bennett recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Vanora Bennett's favorite book recommendations of all time.
Vanora BennettIt is. It’s about a girl named Nan who goes off to the Pantomime Theatre, which is on the South Coast of England, and sees a girl named Kitty, who is a male impersonator, on the stage and falls in love with her. You’re not sure if it’s a sexual love or a girlish crush but she does go off to London with her and it does turn into a love affair. They begin living together but it becomes complicated... (Source)
We are in England in the 1660s. Charles II has been restored to the throne following years of civil war and Cromwell's short-lived republic. Oxford is the intellectual seat of the country, a place of great scientific, religious, and political ferment. A fellow of New College is found dead in suspicious circumstances. A young woman is accused of his murder. We hear the story of the death from four witnesses: an Italian... more
We are in England in the 1660s. Charles II has been restored to the throne following years of civil war and Cromwell's short-lived republic. Oxford is the intellectual seat of the country, a place of great scientific, religious, and political ferment. A fellow of New College is found dead in suspicious circumstances. A young woman is accused of his murder. We hear the story of the death from four witnesses: an Italian physician intent on claiming credit for the invention of blood transfusion; the son of an alleged Royalist traitor; a master cryptographer who has worked for both Cromwell and the king; and a renowned Oxford antiquarian. Each tells his own version of what happened. Only one reveals the extraordinary truth.
With rights sold for record-breaking sums around the world, An Instance of the Fingerpost is destined to become a major international publishing event. Deserving of comparison to the works of John Fowles and Umberto Eco, Iain Pears's novel is an ingenious tour de force: an utterly compelling historical mystery with a plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader guessing until the very last page. less
Vanora BennettThis one is really complicated – maybe I just like them complicated. Pears is also a really intelligent man and has oscillated between writing fiction for entertainment and academics. He’s lived in Italy and he’s a professor and this book sort of speaks to all of those things. On the face of it, it’s about a murder in 17th-century Oxford, but quite amazing things are going on that are creepy yet... (Source)
Vanora BennettI read this a few years ago and it was one of those books you always remember because it creates a whole new way of thinking. I had no idea at the time that the medieval mindset was any different to the modern one. It is about the adventure of a Franciscan friar and his novice in medieval Italy and it is part murder mystery, part game with semiotics and medieval knowledge. At university I read... (Source)
Politkovskaya's second book on the Chechen War, A Small Corner of... more
Politkovskaya's second book on the Chechen War, A Small Corner of Hell, offers an insider's view of this ongoing conflict. In this book, Politkovskaya focuses her attention on those caught in the crossfire. She recounts the everyday horrors of living in the midst of war, examines how the Chechen war has damaged Russian society, and takes a hard look at the ways people on both sides profited from it. Now available in paperback, A Small Corner of Hell ensures that Politkovskaya's words will not be erased. "[A Small Corner of Hell] skips harrowingly from year to year and place to place. The arch-villains are the Russian death squads, venal and brutal, and the complacent, lying politicians and generals who profit from the illegal trade in booty, oil, and captives. Her heroes are not the Chechen resistance—a gangsterish and ill-fed lot—but the long-suffering civilian population, whose natural grit and solidarity has gradually dissolved under the relentless brutality of daily life."—Economist
"A personal, unblinking stare at the casualties of war."—Jonathan Kaplan, Los Angeles Times less
Vanora BennettThere are no superlatives too superlative for Anna Politkovskaya, who, after three books and innumerable investigative reporting trips to Chechnya, was murdered, execution-style, outside her Moscow apartment in 2007. Politkovskaya, a social affairs reporter, was sent to Chechnya in 2000 by her liberal newspaper editor to cover the second, Putin-era, war, not because she knew about wars but... (Source)
In 1994, when fighting threatened to break out in Chechnya, Baiev left his... more
In 1994, when fighting threatened to break out in Chechnya, Baiev left his promising career in Russia to aid his countrymen. First, he worked in a Grozny hospital until it was destroyed by Russian shelling. Returning to his hometown of Alkhan Kala, he and his fellow villagers restored a clinic with his own funds, and he soon found himself the only doctor for 80,000 residents in six villages and 5,000 refugees. During the next six years, he worked without gas, electricity, or running water, with only local anesthetics, and at one point dressed wounds with sour cream or egg yolks when supplies ran out. He often donated his own blood for surgeries, and on one occasion performed sixty-seven amputations in forty-eight hours.
Although he mainly treated civilians, Baiev also cared for Russian soldiers and Chechen fighters alike, never allowing politics to interfere with his commitment to the Hippocratic oath. He harbored Russian deserters and Chechen rebels at great personal risk and single-handedly rescued a Russian doctor who was scheduled to be executed. For this, Baiev was nearly killed by both the Russian special forces and Chechen extremists. Only when the Russian Army ordered him arrested for treating a wounded rebel warlord did Baiev finally flee Chechnya.
Echoing through his memoir is the history of Chechnya, a Muslim nation the size of Connecticut with a population of one million. Baiev explains the roots of the Chechen- Russian conflict, dating back 400 years, and he brings to life his once-beautiful ancestral home of Makazhoi where his family clan goes back generations, steeped in ancient traditions that are an intriguing blend of mountain folklore—including blood vendettas, arranged marriages, the authority of village elders—and Muslim religious rituals. And he writes frankly about the challenges of assimilating into western culture and about the post-traumatic stress disorder that has debilitated him since the war began.
The Oath is an important eyewitness account of the reality of the Chechen-Russian conflict, in which countless atrocities have been committed against average Chechens in stark contrast to the Kremlin's portrayal of the conflict. It is also a searing, unforgettable memoir that is certain to become a classic in the literature of war. less
Vanora BennettBaiev’s The Oath is probably the least well-known of my books and yet in some ways it’s the best. It’s an eyewitness account by an ordinary Chechen doctor who went home to stitch up wounds and served in the various makeshift hospitals around Grozny during both modern wars – both Yeltsin’s and the war that began under the next president, Vladimir Putin, in 2000. What’s unusual about it is not just... (Source)
Vanora BennettThe first two. A Small Victorious War is a very thorough, practical guide to the first of two post-Soviet wars in Chechnya. The authors interviewed everyone connected with the war, except maybe Boris Yeltsin. Their book tells the story of how and why newly independent Russia, in 1991, first gave its various ethnic minorities what the president called “as much independence as you can swallow” and... (Source)
Vanora Bennett. It is. This next one is a collection of authoritative essays on how Russians and the mountain peoples of the Caucasus (among other Muslims in the former Soviet world) have interacted, from the end of the 19th-century wars to the outbreak of a modern Russian-Chechen war in 1994. There are accounts of various Russian persecutions right through the 20th century, and how they only stifled but never... (Source)
Tolstoy, witness to many of the events leading to Hadji Murád’s death, set down this story with painstaking accuracy to preserve for future generations the horror,... more
Tolstoy, witness to many of the events leading to Hadji Murád’s death, set down this story with painstaking accuracy to preserve for future generations the horror, nobility, and destruction inherent in war. less
Vanora BennettYes. This is the story of the 19th-century war between colonial Russia and the tough, fiercely independent mountain tribes they needed to control if they were to have easy access to their new territory of Georgia, on the southern side of the Caucasus mountains. In those days the mountaineers were united against Russia under Imam Shamil. Shamil’s war went on for half a lifetime. Many of the... (Source)
As Napoleon's army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and... more
As Napoleon's army invades, Tolstoy brilliantly follows characters from diverse backgrounds—peasants and nobility, civilians and soldiers—as they struggle with the problems unique to their era, their history, and their culture. And as the novel progresses, these characters transcend their specificity, becoming some of the most moving—and human—figures in world literature. Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude.
Three-Volume Boxed Set less
His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages. more
His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages. less
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