I Will Show You How It Was: The Story of Wartime Kyiv (Hardcover)

I Will Show You How It Was: The Story of Wartime Kyiv By Illia Ponomarenko Cover Image
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"A story of searing clarity from Ukraine's frontlines of an unfathomably resilient, freedom loving people who refuse to bend to Putin's assault on truth and human life."-Nicole Perlroth

“Destined to become a classic of modern war reporting.”-Luke Harding

A raw, irreverent account of a young Ukrainian reporter on-the-ground as his country heroically defends itself against the Russian invasion.


In late February 2022, a series of missiles and rocket strikes began falling upon Ukraine, as the Russian military barreled over the border and fanned out across the country. First they took Chernobyl, then Kherson, then Mariupol. Time stood still as the world waited for Ukraine to flatten underneath the boot of its neighbor.

Meanwhile, on the front lines in the capital city, Kyiv Independent reporter Illia Ponomarenko was seeing a different story on unfold: after months-years-of waiting for this long-feared attack, Ukraine was fed up and ready to fight back. The Russians bogged down hard in combat east and west of Kyiv. They got exhausted. They screwed up logistics. They sustained heavy losses. Their unbelievably overconfident blitz was failing.

I Will Show You How It Was is Illia Ponomarenko's heart-wrenching memoir of the war on his homeland, offering a fiery diatribe against Russian hypocrisy and a moving look at what is being lost. But it's also a story of pride and even elation as Ukrainian forces come together, find their mojo, and oust the invaders from Kyiv. The most powerful and personal chronicle of the war to date, I Will Show You How It Was is an exceptional literary achievement, chronicling a stunning feat of resistance and a courageous people set on a miraculous victory.

About the Author


Illia Ponomarenko is a Ukrainian journalist known as a former defense and security reporter at the Kyiv Post and subsequently a co-founder of the Kyiv Independent. He has covered the war in eastern Ukraine since the conflict's earliest days, as well as Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine since 2022. He has also had deployments to Palestine and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as an embedded reporter with UN peacekeeping forces. Ponomarenko won the Alfred Friendly Press Partners fellowship and was selected to work as USA Today's guest reporter at the U.S. Department of Defense. He lives in Bucha outside Kyiv.

Praise For…


“Remarkable . . . [I Will Show You How It Was] lives up to its title, with countless pages that are alternately heart-rending, stomach-churning, and even inspiring. This is an important story, and Ponomarenko tells it with passion and intelligence. A revelatory portrait of the horror and absurdity of the conflict spiked with much-needed threads of humanity and hope.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Brings to life in vivid detail what it was like on the ground before, during, and after the Russian onslaught on the capital city . . . [makes] the reader feel the fear, uncertainty, and danger that the fog of war forces regular people to endure. Ponomarenko stands defiant.” —Booklist

“A story of searing clarity from Ukraine's frontlines of an unfathomably resilient, freedom loving people who refuse to bend to Putin's assault on truth and human life. We in the West must take note. Ukrainians are doing our work for us and we own them immeasurable gratitude. Never has this been clearer than in Illia Ponomarenko's heartbreaking-and ultimately hopeful-prose.” —Nicole Perlroth, bestselling author of THIS IS HOW THEY TELL ME THE WORLD ENDS

“A delightful, moving, painful, compulsively readable narrative of the early months of the Russian invasion. A gifted storyteller, Illia Ponomarenko talks to you as if you are sitting side-by-side, looking out the window of an apartment building in his beloved Kyiv, drinking cheap vodka shots and watching the sunrise after a long night of remembering-the heroism, the fear, the history, the love- the glories gained and the lives lost. This is, very possibly, the Ukraine war's very own Dispatches. Brilliant.” —Jon Lee Anderson, bestselling author of CHE GUEVARA: A REVOLUTIONARY LIFE

“Brilliant, dark and devastating. Illia Ponomarenko's memoir of the battle for Kyiv following Russia's 2022 invasion is destined to become a classic of modern war reporting. I Will Show You How It Was describes the folly and arrogance of Vladimir Putin's military plan, the thump and boom of battle, and the heroic fightback against the odds by Ukrainian soldiers and ordinary civilians. A vivid, dramatic, and moving account.” —Luke Harding, author of INVASION: RUSSIA'S BLOODY WAR AND UKRAINE'S FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL & the #No 1 New York Times bestseller COLLUSION

“Kyiv was doomed, destined to fall within a few short weeks if not days--those were the expectations of many, both friends and foes of Ukraine in February of 2022. The Ukrainian people surprised the world by fighting back, saving their capital, and turning the tide of the war. This eyewitness account of the battle for Kyiv explains not only how it happened but also why the Ukrainians fought and keep fighting today, once again against all the odds.” —Serhii Plokhy, author of THE RUSSO-UKRAINIAN WAR and director of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute

“A roaring, scathing expose of Russia's 'case' for war; a wry, vivid, deeply personal account of the invasion; a moving portrait of young Ukrainians' bewilderment and rage.” —Andrew Harding, BBC correspondent and author of A SMALL, STUBBORN TOWN

“At the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the world thought that Ukraine would not be able to withstand the military power of Russia. But people decided to fight for their freedom. Nothing is predestined. It is the decisiveness to act that determines the society that has a future. And this is what this book is about.” —Oleksandra Matviychuk, Noble Peace Prize winner



Product Details
ISBN: 9781639733873
ISBN-10: 1639733876
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English