Winner of the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize
Winner of the AATSEEL Book Prize
Winner of the University of Southern California Book Prize
Honorable Mention, Reginald Zelnik Book Prize
“Stand aside, Homer. I doubt whether even the author of the Iliad could have matched Alexis Peri’s account of the 872-day siege which Leningrad endured.”
—Jonathan Mirsky, The Spectator
“Fascinating and perceptive.”
—Antony Beevor, New York Review of Books
“Powerful and illuminating…A fascinating, insightful, and nuanced work.”
—Anna Reid, Times Literary Supplement
“A sensitive, at times almost poetic examination.”
—Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs
In September 1941, two and a half months after the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, the German Wehrmacht encircled Leningrad. Cut off from the rest of Russia, the city remained blockaded for 872 days, at a cost of almost a million civilian lives. It was one of the longest and deadliest sieges in modern history.
The War Within chronicles the Leningrad blockade from the perspective of those who endured it. Drawing on unpublished diaries written by men and women from all walks of life, Alexis Peri tells the tragic story of how young and old struggled to make sense of a world collapsing around them. When the blockade was lifted in 1944, Kremlin officials censored publications describing the ordeal and arrested many of Leningrad’s wartime leaders. Some were executed. Diaries—now dangerous to their authors—were concealed in homes, shelved in archives, and forgotten. The War Within recovers these lost accounts, shedding light on one of World War II’s darkest episodes while paying tribute the resilience of the human spirit.