The Greatest Belarusian, Swedish, Russian "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. 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
  2. 2. 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
  3. 3. 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
  4. 4. Alva Myrdal: A Daughter's Memoir by Sissela Bok

    This memoir provides an intimate portrayal of a Nobel laureate and prominent figure in international diplomacy and social reform, as seen through the eyes of her daughter. The book delves into the complexities of the subject's public achievements and personal life, exploring the challenges she faced as a woman in the mid-20th century balancing a career with family responsibilities. The daughter's perspective offers a unique insight into the character and legacy of a woman who made significant contributions to social policy and disarmament, while also shedding light on the familial relationships that shaped her life and work.

    The 5174th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Exterminate All The Brutes by Sven Lindqvist

    The book is a profound exploration of European imperialism and the roots of genocide, blending travelogue, personal diary, and historical analysis. The narrative delves into the dark history of colonialism, examining how racist ideologies were used to justify the extermination and subjugation of non-European peoples under the guise of civilization and progress. Through a series of interwoven reflections and accounts, the author confronts the violence and atrocities committed by European powers in Africa and beyond, challenging readers to acknowledge and understand the brutal legacy of colonialism that has shaped the modern world.

    The 6730th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. Factfulness by Hans Rosling

    The book challenges common misconceptions about the state of the world, using a wealth of statistical data to argue that, contrary to popular belief, global living conditions are improving significantly. It introduces ten instincts that distort our perspective—from the fear instinct (which leads us to perceive the world as more frightening than it is) to the destiny instinct (which causes us to assume that the fates of populations are predetermined). The author, a renowned public health expert, encourages readers to adopt a "factful" mindset, which relies on data and evidence to create a more accurate understanding of the world, ultimately fostering a more positive and productive approach to global challenges.

    The 8384th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen

    This book provides a deeply researched examination of the resurgence of totalitarianism in Russia, focusing on the lives of four individuals born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. The book explores how, after the fall of the Soviet Union, instead of moving towards a democratic society, Russia has seen a rise in a new form of totalitarianism under its current leadership. It delves into the psychological shift in the Russian populace, the government's use of homophobia as a method of control, and how the internet and social media have been weaponized for political purposes.

    The 9613th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark

    This book explores the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on the fabric of human existence, proposing a framework for understanding the progression of life through the lens of technological evolution. It delves into the potential scenarios that could unfold as AI surpasses human intelligence, raising profound questions about consciousness, the role of humans in a world shared with advanced AI, and how society can navigate the ethical, political, and existential challenges this new era presents. The author encourages a proactive approach to designing and governing AI technologies, emphasizing the importance of aligning them with human values and interests to ensure a future where humanity can thrive alongside increasingly intelligent machines.

    The 9797th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference by Greta Thunberg

    "No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference" is a collection of speeches by Greta Thunberg, a young climate activist who gained international recognition for her efforts to combat climate change. Through her powerful and passionate words, Thunberg emphasizes the urgency of taking action and highlights the responsibility of individuals, governments, and corporations to address the environmental crisis. This book serves as a call to action, inspiring readers to join the global movement for a sustainable future.

    The 10383rd 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.