The Greatest Belarusian, Russian, Australian "Nonfiction" Books Since 1980

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Schindler's List by Thomas Keneally

    The book tells the true story of a German businessman who saves more than a thousand Polish Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories. The protagonist's transformation from a greedy high living war profiteer to a savior of lives forms the crux of the narrative. It offers a chilling yet inspiring account of the horrors of the Holocaust, human resilience, and the power of one individual to make a significant difference.

    The 412th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway

    "The Road from Coorain" is a memoir that chronicles the author's journey from her childhood on a remote sheep station in Australia, through her adolescence in war-ravaged Sydney, and finally, to her departure for America. The narrative explores themes of self-discovery, gender roles, and the power of education while providing a vivid portrayal of life in the Australian outback. The memoir also delves into the author's complex relationship with her mother and the impact of her father's death on their family.

    The 1846th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Shock of the New by Robert Hughes

    "The Shock of the New" is an insightful exploration of modern art from the late 19th century to the present day. The book examines the cultural, social, and political forces that shaped and influenced the development of various art movements such as Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, and Pop Art. It also provides an in-depth analysis of the works of prominent artists who played pivotal roles in these movements. The book serves as a comprehensive guide to understanding the complexities and nuances of modern art.

    The 2036th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. A Fortunate Life by A.B. Facey

    "A Fortunate Life" is a memoir that chronicles the extraordinary life of a man who overcame immense hardships and adversity to find happiness and contentment. From his humble beginnings in rural Australia to his experiences as a soldier in World War I, the author shares his remarkable journey filled with poverty, loss, and resilience. Despite facing numerous challenges, he remains optimistic and grateful for the opportunities life has presented him, ultimately proving that a fortunate life is not defined by material wealth, but by the strength of the human spirit.

    The 2181st Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Tracks by Robyn Davidson

    "Tracks" is a memoir that recounts the author's extraordinary journey across the Australian desert on camelback. The narrative provides vivid descriptions of the harsh desert landscape, the challenges faced during this nine-month, 1,700-mile trek, and the transformation of the author's personal character along the way. The book also explores her interactions with the indigenous Aboriginal people and their culture, and includes her reflections on solitude, self-discovery, and the human connection to nature.

    The 2291st Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich

    This book is a haunting collection of personal accounts about the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in 1986. The author has meticulously gathered and woven together interviews from survivors, including former workers of the plant, residents, and soldiers. Each narrative reveals the physical and psychological impact of the disaster on individual lives, creating a deeply moving oral history of an event that has had profound consequences on the people of Belarus and Ukraine.

    The 3740th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Out Of The Fire by Ales Adamovich, Yanka Bryl, Vladimir Kolesnik

    "Out Of The Fire" is a powerful collection of stories that vividly depict the horrors and resilience of the human spirit during World War II. Through the eyes of various characters, the book explores the devastating impact of war on individuals and communities, capturing their struggles, sacrifices, and moments of hope amidst the chaos. With hauntingly beautiful prose, the authors bring to life the unimaginable atrocities of the war, reminding us of the importance of remembrance and the enduring strength of the human soul.

    The 4026th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Man Made Language by Dale Spender

    The book in question explores the concept that language is not a neutral medium of communication but rather a man-made construct that reflects and perpetuates the patriarchal structure of society. It argues that the way language is used and structured inherently privileges male perspectives and marginalizes women, influencing perceptions and reinforcing gender inequalities. Through a critical examination of linguistic practices, the text challenges readers to recognize the biases embedded in everyday language and consider the implications these have on women's experiences and the broader social power dynamics.

    The 4113th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Unwomanly Face Of War by Svetlana Alexievich

    "The Unwomanly Face Of War" is a powerful and poignant collection of interviews with Soviet women who fought in World War II. Through their testimonies, the author sheds light on the often overlooked and untold stories of these brave women who served as snipers, pilots, nurses, and soldiers on the front lines. The book explores their experiences, sacrifices, and the lasting impact of war on their lives, providing a unique and intimate perspective on the realities of war from a female point of view.

    The 4439th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. My Place by Sally Morgan

    "My Place" is a poignant autobiographical account that traces the personal journey of an Aboriginal woman in Australia as she uncovers her family's past and her own cultural identity. Through a series of interviews and personal reflections, the narrative delves into the experiences of her mother, grandmother, and great-uncle, revealing the hidden stories of displacement, suffering, and resilience that were kept secret due to the shame and stigma associated with their Aboriginal heritage. The book is a powerful exploration of the impact of colonialism and racism on individual lives and serves as a testament to the strength of family bonds and the reclaiming of one's history and sense of self.

    The 4854th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. 800 Horseman by Col Stringer

    The book is a historical account that pays tribute to the legendary Australian Light Horsemen, who played a crucial role during World War I, particularly in the Middle East campaign. It delves into the remarkable feats of these mounted troops, known for their exceptional horsemanship, courage, and endurance. The narrative celebrates their most famous victory at the Battle of Beersheba and explores the unique bond between the horsemen and their faithful mounts, offering insights into the strategies, challenges, and the enduring legacy of these iconic figures in Australian military history.

    The 5734th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes

    "The Fatal Shore" provides an expansive and detailed historical account of the colonization of Australia by the British Empire, focusing particularly on the transportation of convicts to the penal colonies established there in the 18th and 19th centuries. The book delves into the harsh realities and brutal conditions faced by the convicts, as well as the broader social, political, and economic ramifications of establishing a colony on the other side of the world. Through compelling narratives and meticulous research, it explores the transformation of Australia from a penal colony to a nation, examining the impact on both the indigenous populations and the settlers.

    The 5800th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets by Svetlana Alexievich

    "Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets" is a compilation of personal narratives from individuals who lived through the transformation of the Soviet Union to modern Russia. The book provides a vivid and emotional portrayal of the experiences of ordinary people during this period of significant societal and political change. The author uses these narratives to explore themes such as the impact of political ideology on individual lives, the nature of memory and history, and the enduring effects of trauma and loss.

    The 6921st Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. Fighting Mc Kenzie Anzac Chaplain by Col Stringer

    The book tells the story of Daniel "Fighting Mac" McKenzie, a remarkable military chaplain who served with the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) forces during World War I. Known for his unorthodox methods and fierce determination, McKenzie was a spiritual guide who also physically defended and rescued soldiers in the trenches, earning him legendary status among the troops. His story is one of bravery, compassion, and unwavering faith, as he navigated the horrors of war to provide comfort and support to the soldiers fighting on the front lines. Through his actions, McKenzie became a symbol of hope and resilience, embodying the spirit of the ANZACs.

    The 7002nd Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. Mao's Last Dancer by Li Cunxin

    The book is a memoir of a Chinese peasant boy who, chosen at a young age by Madame Mao's cultural delegates to become a ballet dancer, undergoes a grueling training at Beijing Dance Academy. Through sheer determination and resilience, he excels and earns a rare opportunity to study in America. His experiences abroad open his eyes to the stark contrasts between the communist regime of China and the freedoms of the West. The story follows his emotional and ideological struggle as he eventually defects, leaving behind his family and homeland to pursue his passion for dance and a life of artistic and personal freedom.

    The 7119th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. My Half Century by Anna Akhmatova

    "My Half Century" is a reflective anthology that encapsulates the personal and professional life of a prominent Russian poetess through her own writings and letters, as well as critical essays about her work. The collection spans the tumultuous periods of Russian history from the early 20th century through the Stalinist era, providing a window into the poet's profound resilience and adaptation in the face of personal and political upheaval. Her poetry, marked by its emotional depth and lyrical beauty, explores themes of love, grief, and the endurance of the human spirit, while also subtly critiquing the oppressive political climate of her time. This compilation not only celebrates her literary genius but also her role as a witness to a critical period in Russian history.

    The 7120th Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. The Truth About Chernobyl by Grigory Medvedev

    "The Truth About Chernobyl" is a detailed account of the catastrophic 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, written by Grigory Medvedev, a chief engineer at the plant during the 1970s. Drawing from his own experiences and extensive research, Medvedev exposes the series of events leading up to the explosion, the aftermath, and the cover-up by Soviet officials. The book provides an insider’s perspective on the failures in design, management, and operation of the reactor, and criticizes the lack of safety culture in the Soviet nuclear industry. Medvedev’s narrative not only highlights the technical aspects of the disaster but also delves into the human stories of those who lived through the tragedy, offering a poignant look at one of the worst nuclear accidents in history.

    The 8204th Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. The Diary Of A Gulag Prison Guard 1935 6 by Ivan Chistyakov

    "The Diary Of A Gulag Prison Guard 1935-6" is a chilling and harrowing memoir that provides a firsthand account of the atrocities and cruelty witnessed by Ivan Chistyakov during his time as a guard in a Soviet Gulag prison. Through his detailed entries, Chistyakov reveals the dehumanizing conditions, brutal punishments, and constant fear that both prisoners and guards endured within the oppressive Soviet regime. This haunting narrative serves as a stark reminder of the dark realities of the Gulag system and the lasting impact it had on the lives of countless individuals.

    The 8380th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. Fathoms: The World In The Whale by Rebecca Giggs

    "Fathoms: The World In The Whale" is a profound exploration of the relationship between humans and whales, delving into the history, mythology, and biology of these majestic creatures. The book weaves together environmental and cultural narratives, examining the impact of human activity on whales and their habitats, while also reflecting on what whales signify in our collective imagination. Through lyrical prose, the author invites readers to consider the ethical dimensions of wildlife conservation, the consequences of climate change, and the intricate connections between the natural world and human society, all through the lens of the awe-inspiring presence of whales in our oceans.

    The 8432nd Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. Wrong About Japan by Peter Carey

    In this travel memoir, a father and his anime-obsessed son embark on a journey to Japan in an attempt to understand the son's fascination with the country's pop culture. Their adventure leads them to meet manga artists, anime directors, and cultural commentators, through which they explore the nuances of Japanese animation and its historical contexts. As the father attempts to bridge the cultural gap and connect with his son, he confronts his own preconceptions and discovers the complexities of modern Japanese culture, which cannot be easily understood through the lens of Western perspectives. The narrative delves into themes of cultural exchange, the generational divide, and the search for authenticity in a land where the line between reality and fiction often blurs.

    The 8445th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. In Confidence by Anatoly Dobrynin

    "In Confidence" is a memoir by a former Soviet ambassador that provides an insider's view of Cold War diplomacy from the perspective of the Soviet Union. The book offers detailed accounts of the ambassador's interactions with several U.S. administrations, revealing the complexities of U.S.-Soviet relations and the personal and political challenges of navigating this high-stakes diplomatic landscape. Through his unique vantage point, the author sheds light on major historical events and decisions, offering insights into the strategic thinking and interpersonal dynamics that shaped the Cold War era.

    The 8468th Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. Other Russias by Victoria Lomasko

    "Other Russias" is a powerful and thought-provoking graphic novel that offers an intimate and unfiltered glimpse into the lives of marginalized individuals and communities in contemporary Russia. Through her stunning illustrations and poignant interviews, Victoria Lomasko sheds light on the struggles, hopes, and resilience of diverse groups such as LGBTQ+ activists, migrant workers, political dissidents, and the forgotten voices of rural communities. This eye-opening book challenges stereotypes and provides a humanizing portrayal of those who are often overlooked or silenced in Russian society.

    The 8495th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. Reading The Holocaust by Inga Clendinnen

    "Reading the Holocaust" is an insightful exploration into the complex human realities of the Holocaust. The book delves into the motives and behaviors of both the perpetrators and the victims, challenging simplistic explanations and moral judgments. Through a meticulous examination of diaries, letters, and official documents, the author provides a nuanced analysis of the events and psychology that shaped this dark period in history. The work emphasizes the importance of understanding the Holocaust in all its complexity to better grasp the capacities and limits of human nature.

    The 8968th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. Stasiland by Anna Funder

    This non-fiction work delves into the haunting legacy of the Stasi, the secret police of the former East Germany, through a series of personal narratives and interviews. The author explores the pervasive surveillance and oppression that characterized the German Democratic Republic, weaving together the stories of those who resisted the regime, those who worked for it, and those who were its victims. The book serves as a poignant examination of the human spirit under the strain of totalitarianism, revealing the scars left by a society where privacy was eradicated and trust was a commodity few could afford.

    The 9052nd Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery

    "The Weather Makers" is an informative and thought-provoking book about climate change. It explores the history of global warming, its current impact on our planet, and the potential future consequences if we do not take action. The book also discusses the role of humans in accelerating climate change, the science behind it, and the measures that can be taken to mitigate its effects. It serves as a comprehensive guide to understanding the complexities of climate change and urges the reader to acknowledge and act upon this urgent global issue.

    The 9367th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.