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A Small, Stubborn Town: Life, death and defiance in Ukraine – ‘The mesmerising story of how in the face of a mighty army, ordinary people can say "No."' Mail on Sunday

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A short but brilliant book, Harding tells the story of Voznesensk, the small, southern Ukrainian farm that fought off the Russian Army's invasion in March 2022, facing down unbelievable odds, and winning.

Luke Harding in The Observer: “This gripping story is the literary equivalent of a superb miniature painting. Looking at different perspectives, we see how grandmas, young alcoholics, Russian soldiers, and Ukrainian defenders all respond. Harding’s fine book points to why Ukraine has outperformed expectations in Washington and London, continues to fight on, and may just win this 21st-century David v Goliath struggle. Their weapons were a box of grenades, AK-47s and NLAW anti-armour missiles, supplied by the British. When Russian troops approached the small farming town of Voznesensk, they were not expecting a battle.If Russian troops could capture Voznesensk, and its small, strategic bridge, then they might be able to seize the whole Black Sea Coast and end the war in days. A gripping work of reportage that tells the story of a pivotal moment in Ukraine's war, this is a real-life thriller about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances with resilience, humour and ingenuity. A brilliant insight into the early days of the war in Ukraine through the story of one incredible town. Andrey Kurkov (Ukrainian author of “Grey Bees”): It would be wonderful if the story told in this beautiful little book were the author's invention.

But a plan is emerging, and there's a chance it could save not just Voznesensk, but the rest of southern Ukraine. Eventually the Russians pulled out, abandoning many armoured vehicles, “supplies spilling out of them like the guts of gored animals”. Svetlana, a grandmother with arthritis, reacts in fury when Russian troops turn her cottage into their blood-soaked headquarters. Lindsey HIlsum (Channel Four News): “This gripping account is the Russian invasion of Ukraine in microcosm.Cinematic and gripping - a must read for anyone trying to grasp both the human dimension and larger dynamics of events in this brutal contemporary war. One day soon when the war is over, I look forward to watching the movie based on the events depicted in this book! James Meek (author and journalist): “Harding’s terse, piercing book is a gripping description of a turning point in Russia’s assault on Ukraine, a story of extraordinary heroism by ordinary people in a small town, and an accessible, limpid account of what battle is actually like in this war, in all its tragic, absurd detail.

Philippe Sands'We are touched by the courage and dignity of Andrew Harding's characters - qualities that the author must surely possess in equal measure. But at the core of it, it's a very gentle and kind book in a panorama of events that are decidedly short on gentleness and kindness, and you got to appreciate that. Earlier this month, its troops blew up the Kakhovka dam, flooding settlements and towns on either side of the Dnipro River. Reporter Andrew Harding tells the story of the small Ukrainian town Voznesensk during the initial stages of the Russian invasion in March 2022. Its people are indomitable and unyielding, brave and determined, savvy and funny when the chips are down.

It's a very gentle frog's-eye view of a total war, with loving portraits of the people who are overlooked at the best of times: people who had fallen through the cracks of history and welfare networks, living with passports of a country that collapsed more than 30 years ago.

Arkady Ostrovsky (Journalist and podcaster - “Next Year in Moscow): “A captivating tale of one Ukrainian town, a microcosm of war and a heartening story of people’s defiance, ingenuity and spirit. Each street-level detail illuminates a bigger truth: why Ukraine succeeded in resisting Russia’s shock and awe onslaught last year, and how Moscow’s brazen attempt to subjugate an independent nation failed. The Russians believed the “propaganda” and “lies” they had been fed: that their Ukrainian “Slav brothers” wanted to be “liberated from fascism”. Very sad and terrifying at times - it doesn't hold too many punches when it comes to the realities of war.Mail on Sunday: “A mesmerising story of how in the face of a might army, ordinary people can sometimes turn and simply say, ‘No. After the shootout, Voznesensk’s funeral director drove his van around the surrounding hills and woods, picking up the bodies of Russians and stuffing them into transparent bags. Valentin, a quick-talking lawyer, joins the town's 'Dads Army' defenders, crouching in a trench with an AK47. I'm the author of "These Are Not Gentle People," a true-crime novel set in South Africa and published in South Africa, the UK and the Netherlands.

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