In Towers of Stone, award-winning Polish reporter Wojciech Jagielski brings into focus the tragedy of Chechnya, its inhabitants, and the war being waged there by a handful of desperate warriors against a powerful and much more numerous army. Jagielski's narrative is told through the lens of two men: Shamil Basaev, a hero to some, a dangerous warlord to others; and Aslan Maskhadov, a calculating and sober politician, who is viewed as a providential savior by some of his compatriots and a cowardly opportunist by the rest. Caught up in a war to which they owe everything and without which they could not live, the two fighters face enemy forces—and one another—in protean conflicts that prove hard to quell. Viewing the two men’s personal story as a microcosm of the conflict threatening to devour a land and its peoples, Jagielski distills the bitter history of the region with forceful clarity.
WOJCIECH JAGIELSKI is a journalist at Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's first and biggest independent daily, where he specializes in Africa, Central Asia, the Trans-Caucasus, and the Caucasus. He has been witness to some of the most important political events of the end of the twentieth century and is a permanent observer of developments in Afghanistan. He is the author of A Good Place to Die, the result of several years of travel to the Caucasus in the era of the Soviet Union's collapse and of the emergence of new independent states; Praying for Rain, the bestseller chronicling Afghan regimes; and The Night Wanderers, a book about child soldiers from Northern Uganda. Jagielski is the recipient of the Dariusz Fikus Award, one of Poland's most prestigious awards for excellence in journalism. In 2008, Towers of Stone received the Letterature Dal Fronte Award in Italy.
Towers of Stone by Wojciech Jagielski; translated from the Polish by Soren A. Gauger