Seasoned war reporter Tim Judah has spent much of the last few years reporting from across Ukraine. His latest book In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine is an urgent, insightful account of the human side of the on-going conflict.
"I had already been to Ukraine, both for work and on holiday, a few times before the Maidan revolution and the beginning of the war. In the autumn of 2013 I went to Odessa and Kiev to write a piece for the New York Review of Books. It was due to be published in the wake of the European Union’s Vilnius summit at the end of November. There President Viktor Yanukovych was supposed to sign historic agreements which would bind
Yanukovych fell in February 2014, Russia seized Crimea in March and in April I went back to write another piece for the NYRB. When I was in Kiev a colleague called me to come and visit Donetsk for the weekend and do some reporting there. Something was happening – people had stormed the regional administration building but it did not seem as though this was an event which would change history. We went to talk to people out of Donetsk about illegal coal mining and when we came back to the city we found that armed men had seized the regional police headquarters. The war was beginning. It turned out to be a very long weekend. From then on I covered the conflict as it unrolled across the east, reporting for the NYRB, the New York Review Daily, its online section and the Economist.
Having read my NYRB pieces I was asked by Allen Lane / Penguin to write a book. Everyone in Ukraine talked about history and used it and misused it. It seemed to me that was lacking was a book which put the current conflict in context and explained those parts of history which are relevant today – rather than writing a new history of the country. Indeed what shocked me was that, for such a large and important country, how few books there were in English aimed at the general as opposed to specialist or academic reader. The idea was to fill this gap."