Makhno: Ukranian Freedom Fighter

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I heard a rumor that some person or group was potentially going to object to this book being on the shelves of the library — so I checked it out and read it as fast as I could! As Stephen King says, “Run, don’t walk, to the nearest non-school library or to the local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they’re trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that’s exactly what you need to know.”

I found it pretty darned good, though I admit to being completely without knowledge of the subject area which is the 1917 Russian Revolution. Roberto Zaghi‘s illustrations are high-quality and look similar to contemporary superhero comics; characters are individualized and hyper-realistic. The author is French novelist Philippe Thirault who turned from novels to comics about 25 years ago. Translation from French might contribute to the somewhat stilted dialog, though this is understandable given the need to humanize the characters, describe their new (for the time) Socialist motivations, and describe huge battles and exploits in a first-person narrative. Not an easy task!

There aren’t any professional reviews that I found on the title, but one 2022 Library Journal piece (v. 147 Iss. 8, p45-54) referenced the book thusly: “Nestor Makhno defied the Bolsheviks and commanded the Revolutionary Insurgent Army of Ukraine. [This]… follows Makhno’s exploits in this nonfiction work that was in development two years before Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. Thirault examines the grand ideals and human failings of this real-life military strategist and revolutionary.”

Recommended for: Readers who want the quick version of the historical event, those who are interested in learning about the idealistic birth of the struggles of that region, those interested in historical events. The read takes about an hour, time well spent.

~ Douglas Lord | Library Director

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