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Ukraine Is Not Dead Yet

A Family History of Exile and Return

ibidem Press, 2023

Winner, 2024 Best Book Prize, American Association for Ukrainian Studies

When Megan Buskey’s grandmother Anna dies in Cleveland in 2013, Megan is compelled in her grief to uncover and document her grandmother’s life as a native of Ukraine. A Ukrainian American, Buskey returns to her family’s homeland and enlists her relatives there to help her in her quest—and discovers much more than she expected. The result is an extraordinary journey that traces one woman’s story across Ukraine’s difficult twentieth century, from a Galician village emerging from serfdom, to the “bloodlands” of Eastern Europe during World War II, to the Siberian hinterlands where Anna spent almost two decades in exile before receiving the rare opportunity to emigrate from the Soviet Union in the 1960s. In the course of her research, Megan encounters essential and sometimes disturbing aspects of recent Ukrainian history, such as Nazi collaboration, the rise and persistence of Ukrainian nationalism, and the shattering impact of Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022. Yet her wide-ranging inquiries keep leading her back to universal questions: What does family mean? How can you forge connections between generations that span different cultures, times, and places? And, perhaps most hauntingly, how can you best remember a complicated past that is at once foreign and personal?

Praise for Ukraine Is Not Dead Yet

"Driven by a kind of spiritual passion... Megan Buskey's personal journey has a rough parallel with our own fitful attempts to grasp the geopolitical conundrums that beset the Ukrainians... Her research offers its own measure of satisfaction, confirming how deeply you come to be steeped in the turbulent saga of a family that mirrors Ukraine's own unsettling wartime history...Lovely and wise." - Tunku Varadarajan, The Wall Street Journal

"Moving, admirably honest…Succeeds in putting a human face to the suffering of ordinary people trapped in the turmoil of physical conflict and political ideologies, and the forces that informed and shaped their often desperately constrained choices and actions…Steadfastly refuses to airbrush the past." - Rebecca Abrams, The Financial Times

"One of the best and most intimate histories of Ukraine you’ll read." - Christopher Miller, author of The War Came to Us: Life and Death in Ukraine

"A painfully honest and carefully researched journey of a Ukrainian American into her family’s complicated and difficult past. Anchored in the catastrophe of the Second World War and the subsequent Stalinist repression of the Ukrainian peasantry, the story flows, unexpectedly to the author herself, into the unfolding drama of the current Russian invasion. Thoughtful and beautifully written." - Jan Gross, Princeton University, author of Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland

"What happens when you set out on a journey through your family’s history? In this moving and progressively darker book, Megan Buskey returns to the landscapes and people of western Ukraine only to stare directly at the forgotten, repressed, and denied horrors of another era. A riveting read, all the more poignant in view of the current war in Ukraine." - Omer Bartov, Brown University, author of Anatomy of a Genocide: The Life and Death of a Town Called Buczacz

"Megan Buskey had all the skills she needed to tell this story: languages, historical knowledge, the tenacity of an investigative reporter, and a flair for prose. This book is not only important, but captivating and instructive." - John-Paul Himka, University of Alberta, author of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Holocaust

"Buskey's unflinching book is an important contribution to the study of Ukraine and its complex history. Animating it are the very issues being weaponized by Putin’s Russia to justify its senseless war." - Maksim Goldenshteyn, H-Ukraine

"Megan Buskey’s both empathetic and sharp writing shows that there is no one single narrative that could explain the Ukrainian experience in the 20th century. It pays tribute to its complex history full of tensions and contradictions. It also confirms the fact that the key to the understanding of identity is human experience." - Ursula Stark Urrestarzu, Krytyka

"Buskey’s book brilliantly captures the difficulties of existing in a diaspora, especially in America, where assimilation has been imposed on immigrants and their families’ future generations." - Nikola Yurtsaba, New Eastern Europe

"Ukraine Is Not Dead Yet serves as a model of both the power and the purpose of historical memoir― to improve our collective understanding of the past while broadening our knowledge of ourselves and our future." - Wil S. Hylton, author of Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II

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