Ruma sota [The ugly war]

11 May 2009 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Ruma sotaRuma sota. Talvi- ja jatkosodan vaiettu historia
[The ugly war. The suppressed history of the Winter and Continuation Wars ]
Toim. [Ed. by] Näre, Sari & Kirves, Jenni
Helsinki: Johnny Kniga, 2008. 468 p., ill.
ISBN 978-951-0-32917-7
€ 39, hardback

The book is about the conflicts associated with the interpretation of the Finnish Winter and Continuation Wars (1939–1944) and the culture of silence which followed them. It argues that the psychological impact of those wars, which shifted from one generation to the next, caused suffering, and that those who had traumatic experiences were left largely alone with their distress. The articles examine children’s experiences of war, the experiences of cowards and deserters, the effects of war on sexual behaviour and drug use, and the impact of propaganda on people’s minds. There is a startling essay on violence at the front line based on the writings of veterans, with photographic archival material. The book also discusses the views of Finnish writers who served in the wars, and the violations of human rights encountered by prisoners of war.

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