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Dynamo: Defending the Honour of Kiev Hardcover – 5 Mar 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (5 Mar. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841153184
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841153186
  • Package Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 885,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

The Nazi occupation of Kiev during World War II was a singularly brutal period in the history of the Ukraine. It is hard to imagine how the outcome of a football match could matter to a people who lived under constant threat of starvation, disease and death--but it did. In Dynamo--Defending the Honour of Kiev, journalist Andy Dougan tells the extraordinary story of how the players of Ukranian club side Dynamo Kiev--renamed FC Start--were saved from exportation to Nazi labour camps and became a beacon of hope for a city under the heel of the jackboot. Their finest hour was to be when a team of malnourished former Kiev stars took to the pitch against a Luftwaffe XI, and sought to deliver the propaganda coup of the war.

Dougan puts this extraordinary match in context, sketching the bloody history of the region, and reflecting on the roots of a fierce, nationalist spirit which was to express itself in the first half of the 20th century in the face of the totalitarian ideologies and genocidal instincts of both the Soviets and the Nazis. Dynamo became a popular focus of that spirit and its role as an embodiment of Ukrainian pride was never more significant than during the Nazi occupation, in face of astonishing brutality:

The Nazis had such institutionalised contempt for their prisoners that on some occasions they did not even consider them worth a bullet. Some sick prisoners who could not work were savagely beaten senseless and buried alive, in the knowledge that if they did regain consciousness they would not have the strength to free themselves from their shallow graves.

But this is no glamourised, Escape To Victory-style account of sporting pluck and stiff upper-lips. As in any chronicle of an occupation, the moral certainties of peacetime sit uneasily with the necessities of survival, and Dougan is an unflinching observer of the reality behind the legend. The result is a moving, challenging book, which will put the importance of your team's next match into perspective. --Alex Hankin


‘Just as you think you've read every good book about the war another one is published…I cannot help but think that it would seem wrong to try and forget what happened during the last war until all stories such as this one have been told.’ Philip Kerr, Sunday Times

‘This is clearly a labour of love.’ Independent

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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on 8 March 2017
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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on 28 September 2007
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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on 18 March 2001
Format: Hardcover
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on 28 February 2007
Format: Paperback
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on 22 April 2002
Format: Paperback
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