The Death of a Soldier Told by His Sister





2022 | hardback | e-book | audiobook ORDER

Wars happen to us; they turn our lives upside down and change us for good. They make us re-evaluate life and death. They make us experience crushing hatred and overwhelming love. With this book, I invite the reader to witness my experience of war, to journey with me from London to Lviv, from peace to a warzone, and to discover why Russia’s war in Ukraine is closer to home than we might think.

'A remarkable, intimate memoir. . . Not history, but now. Not distant, but proximate. Not imaginary, but real.' Philippe Sands, bestselling author of East West Street and The Ratline

'Olesya’s history reflects the history of modern Ukraine with its problems, hopes, victories and losses... It does not focus on numbers and dates, but on human experience in a country that has found itself in a state of war.' Andrey Kurkov, bestselling Ukrainian writer, author of numerous novels and Ukraine Diaries

'Heartbreaking, agonizing, poetical and unforgettable. An immediate history of a cruel war and a personal chronicle of unbearable loss, beautifully and vividly told by a superb historian and elegant writer in a work that brings every death in Ukraine alive with transcendent grief and love.' Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of The World: A Family History

'A deeply moving and beautifully written account of her brother's death fighting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If you read only one book about the war, this is the one to read.' Henry Marsh, bestselling author of 'Do No Harm'

'With disarming candour and an arresting mix of the mystical and the everyday, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the impact of Putin's war on Ukrainians.' Lucy Ash, journalist

'If you want to understand Ukraine's determination to resist, Olesya Khromeychuk's book is essential.' Paul Mason, author of How to Stop Fascism

'Elegantly written... packed with the sharpness of moments when a death suddenly becomes real.' TLS

‘If you read only one book about the war, this is the one to read.’ Henry Marsh, author of Do No Harm

‘A touching and brilliantly written account about grief, and also about strength. I read it in one night.’ Olia Hercules, author of Summer Kitchens

'Moving, intelligent, and brilliantly written, this is a sister’s reckoning with a lost brother, an émigré’s with the country of her childhood, and a scholar’s with her own suddenly acutely personal subject matter. A wonderful combination of emotional and intellectual honesty.' Anna Reid, author of Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine

'In vivid, intimate prose and with unflinching honesty, Olesya Khromeychuk introduces us to the brother she lost in the war and found in her grief. Poignant, wise and unforgettable.' Dr Rory Finnin, University of Cambridge

Including new material placing the book in the context of the ongoing war, and a new foreword by Philippe Sands.


The Death of a Soldier Told by His Sister. Unabridged.

Narrated by Olesya Khromeychuk


Julie Durbin, 'Who'll Rock that Cradle?', Current, 30 November 2022.

Helen Parr, 'Journey's End', Literary Review, September 2022.

Julian Evans 'Shards of language. Dispatches from the Donbas', The Times Literary Supplement, 18 February 2022.

Rostyslav Averchuk, 'Introducing Olesya Khromeychuk’s book A Loss. The Story of A Dead Soldier Told by His Sister', VoxUkraine, 10 Dec 2021.

Ростислав Аверчук, Подолати стіну болю: відгук на книжку Олесі Хромейчук «Втрата. Історія мертвого солдата, розказана його сестрою», VoxUkraine, 10 грудня 2021.


  • 'Vladimir Putin is not solely to blame for the Russian invasion that killed my brother in Ukraine', interviewed by Rob Hastings, The i Paper, 8 September 2022. READ

  • 'What it's like to lose a loved one in a war that's live on social media', Daily Mail, 1 September 2022. READ

  • Interview at BBC New (Ukrainian), 1 September 2022. WATCH

  • „Putin leugnet immer wieder, dass Ukrainer eine eigene Nation bilden“, Olesya Khromeychuk in conversation with Paul Simon, Berliner Zeitung, 29 Jan 2022. READ

  • 'Why Putin has his sights on Ukraine', Ritula Shah in conversation with Olesya Khromeychuk, Olga Tokariuk, Angela Stent and Maxim Samoroukov, BBC World Service, 27 Jan 2022. LISTEN

  • "Олеся Хромейчук: 'Війна - це те, що залишиться з нами на покоління, коли всі бліндажі будуть покинуті'", Тетяна Харченко для Korydor, 28 січня 2022 р. ЧИТАТИ

  • New Books Network podcast: Steven Seegel, Professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, in conversation with Olesya Khromeychuk. LISTEN

  • Interview for the Frankfurt Book Fair 2021: Tom Rowley, editor of openDemocracy in conversation with Olesya Khromeychuk. WATCH

  • 'Ukraine’s Donbas conflict: a personal reflection on loss and war' openDemocracy, interview by Tom Rowley, 27 Oct 2021. READ

Image: © Lezli Rose

Signing books at Daunt Books Marylebone and the British Library bookshop.

BBC News (Ukrainian), 1 September 2022. WATCH


Cheltenham Literary Festival 2022

Cliveden Literary Festival 2022

Martin Ivens (c), Serhii Plokhy, Olesya Khromeychuk, Yana Sofovich and Radek Sikorski on Russia's war agaist Ukraine, and Ukraine’s place in European history.

London Literary Festival 2022

Tring Book Festival 2022

The Death of a Soldier Told by His Sister was chosen by the Temerty Contemporary Ukraine Program at Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University for their book club in 2022.

Book talk: AUGB London: Thu 10 Feb | 6:30 pm (in person), organised by British-Ukrainian Aid.

Book talk: The Calder Bookshop: Thu 16 Dec | 7pm (in person), organised by the Ukrainian Institute London. Photos by Tetiana Kharchenko.

Book talk: University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies: Thu 25 Nov | 5pm (in person).

Moderated by Agnieszka Kubal (UCL SSEES).

Book talk: King's College London: Tue 30 Nov | 6pm (online & in person)

Hosted by Women in War and International Politics, War Studies, King's College London (co-organised by the Ukrainian Institute London). Moderated by Annabronia Ospeck and Aurora Pinelli.