Larissa Babij, "A Kind of Refugee: The Story of an American Who Refused to Leave Ukraine" (Ibidem Press, 2024)


American-born Larissa Babij is at home in Kyiv when Russia launches its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Her grandparents left Ukraine amidst the violence of World War II, and nearly 80 years later, she is fleeing the advancing Russian army. 

A Kind of Refugee: The Story of an American Who Refused to Leave Ukraine (Ibidem Press, 2024) chronicles the first year of all-out war in Ukraine through vivid dispatches that Babij sent to readers abroad. In cities flooded with refugees and bustling with humanitarian aid efforts, or while supporting an innovative military unit making DIY drones, Babij examines Ukrainian cultures of cooperation. Reflecting on her American upbringing, she ponders the premium that Western societies—shaped by the traumatic history of WW II—place on security. When she returns to Kyiv, sirens, Russian missile strikes, and long periods of darkness organize her days.

This moving account of taking responsibility for your home and your history concludes with several essays on theater published between 2015 and 2021. Written with a fierce love for Ukraine and its people, this book is a testament to the courage of ordinary people committed to freedom while defending their homeland.

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John Vsetecka

John Vsetecka is the Jaroslaw and Nadia Mihaychuk Postdoctoral Fellow in Ukrainian Studies at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University. He writes about issues concerning famine, transitional justice, and the legacies of mass violence in Ukraine. When he's not teaching or writing, you can find John hiking in his beloved Rocky Mountains. Please visit his website to learn more:
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