Magazine article The New Yorker

Gone to War

Magazine article The New Yorker

Gone to War

Article excerpt

In 1984, when he was nineteen, Vladislav Tamarov was drafted into the Soviet Army and flown to Uzbekistan for training. A few months later he was sweeping for land mines in Afghanistan. During the 621 days of his deployment (which he also tallies, obsessively, as 14,904 hours), he "shot at every shadow; everything that moved was a threat to us." Tamarov's journal of the war, reissued as AFGHANISTAN: A RUSSIAN SOLDIER'S STORY (Ten Speed) and translated from the Russian by Naomi Marcus and Marianne Clarke Trangen, includes his eerie camp-life photographs, and stands as both a personal chronicle and a protest against the war that left Tamarov with terrifying "Afghan dreams" of bullets ricocheting from rocky cliffs and of futile conversations with dead comrades. With no treatment available for post-traumatic-stress disorder, Tamarov spiralled upon his return from combat--in just two years, he married and divorced, became a break-dancer and a street-sweeper--before finding a sympathetic community among American veterans of the Vietnam War. …

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