|The Fight of Our Lives / Iuliaa Mendel|
trans. by Madeline G. Levine
NY: Atria/One Signal, c2022
This is a fantastic read, one that hits the current moment perfectly. It's an engaging read, a mix of general politics, a closer look at Zelenskyy's character, and the author's own life. She combines them to create an informative and easy-to-read political memoir.
Her story is pretty fascinating - she worked as Zelenskyy's press secretary for two years, after winning a competition for the role. From her inside vantage point, she talks about how Zelenskyy's election was a turning point, a rejection of the Russian focused oligarchs and a loud call for a European government. And she shares the hard work required to change entrenched corrupt practices, including things like hiring the right people, making processes more transparent, and the huge shift in digital access to government services (right now it's easier to access government services online in Ukraine than in most of North America, for example).
Her own life was disrupted by the war, as her fiancé went to the front lines in the beginning of the invasion. Her view as a young professional woman who was directly involved in the Ukrainian government is fascinating and thorough. She isn't speaking on anyone else's behalf; she is clear about the positives and the flaws involved in such a huge turnaround effort. But you can also feel the respect she has for Zelenskyy's leadership and the care he puts into every interaction.
It's a great read if you're interested in current events and how Zelenskyy came to power, and where the country wants to go. It's also very useful in getting a feel for the realities of Ukrainian life now and in recent decades. I feel that reading this will enlighten and inform anyone who is trying to understand Ukraine more clearly now. And it's also well written, with a narrative that flows and carries you forward. Recommended!