Popular Kazakhstan Books

16+ [Hand Picked] Popular Books On Kazakhstan


4.9/5

Apples Are from Kazakhstan: The Land That Disappeared by Christopher Robbins

Closed to foreigners under Tsar and Soviet rule, Kazakhstan has remained largely hidden from the world, a remarkable feat for a country the size of Western Europe. Few would guess that Kazakhstan—a blank in Westerners' collective geography—turns out to be diverse, tolerant, and surprisingly modern, the country that gave the world apples, trousers, and even, perhaps, King A Closed to foreigners under Tsar and Soviet rule, Kazakhstan has remained largely hidden from the world, a remarkable feat for a country the size of Western Europe. Few would guess that Kazakhstan—a blank in Westerners' collective geography—turns out to be diverse, tolerant, and surprisingly modern, the country that gave the world apples, trousers, and even, perhaps, King Arthur. Christopher Robbins enjoyed unprecedented access to the Kazakh president while crafting this travelogue, and he relates a story by turns hilarious and grim. He finds Eminem-worship by a shrinking Aral Sea, hears the Kazakh John Lennon play in a dusty desert town, joins nomads hunting eagles, eats boiled sheep's head (a delicacy), and explores some of the most beautiful, unspoiled places on earth. Observant and culturally attuned, Robbins is a master stylist in the tradition of travel writing as literature, a companion to V. S. Naipaul and Paul Theroux.
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4.2/5

The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years by Chingiz Aitmatov

..". a rewarding book." --Times Literary Supplement Set in the vast windswept Central Asian steppes and the infinite reaches of galactic space, this powerful novel offers a vivid view of the culture and values of the Soviet Union's Central Asian peoples.
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4.3/5

The Silent Steppe: The Memoir of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin by Mukhamet Shayakhmetov , Jan Butler (Translator)

This is a first-hand account of the genocide of the Kazakh nomads in the 1920s and 30s. Nominally Muslim, the Kazakhs and their culture owed as much to shamanism and paganism as they did to Islam. Their ancient traditions and economy depended on the breeding and herding of stock across the vast steppes of central Asia, and their independent, nomadic way of life was anathem This is a first-hand account of the genocide of the Kazakh nomads in the 1920s and 30s. Nominally Muslim, the Kazakhs and their culture owed as much to shamanism and paganism as they did to Islam. Their ancient traditions and economy depended on the breeding and herding of stock across the vast steppes of central Asia, and their independent, nomadic way of life was anathema to the Soviets. Seven-year-old Shayakhmetov and his mother and sisters were left to fend for themselves after his father was branded a "kulak" (well-off peasant and thus class enemy), stripped of his possessions, and sent to a prison camp where he died. In the following years the family traveled thousands of miles across Kazakhstan by foot, surviving on the charity of relatives. Told with dignity and detachment, this central Asian Wild Swans awakens the reader to the scale of suffering of millions of Kazakhs, and also astonishes and inspires as a most singular survivor's tale.
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4.2/5

Dark Shadows: Inside the Secret World of Kazakhstan by Joanna Lillis

Dark Shadows is a compelling portrait of Kazakhstan, a country that is little known in the West. Strategically located in the heart of Central Asia, sandwiched between Vladimir Putin's Russia, its former colonial ruler, and Xi Jinping's China, this vast oil-rich state is carving out its place in the world as it contends with its own complex past and present. Journalist Joa Dark Shadows is a compelling portrait of Kazakhstan, a country that is little known in the West. Strategically located in the heart of Central Asia, sandwiched between Vladimir Putin's Russia, its former colonial ruler, and Xi Jinping's China, this vast oil-rich state is carving out its place in the world as it contends with its own complex past and present. Journalist Joanna Lillis paints a vibrant picture of this emerging nation through vivid reportage based on 13 years of on-the-ground coverage, and travels across the length and breadth of this enigmatic country that lies along the ancient Silk Road and at the geopolitical and cultural crossroads where East meets West. Featuring tales of murder and abduction, intrigue and betrayal, extortion and corruption, this book explores how a president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, transformed himself into a potentate and the economically-struggling state he inherited at the fall of the USSR into a swaggering 21st-century monocracy. A colourful cast of characters brings the politics to life: from strutting oligarch to sleeping villagers, from principled politicians to striking oilmen, from crusading journalists to courageous campaigners. Traversing dust-blown deserts and majestic mountains, taking in glitzy cities and dystopian landscapes, Dark Shadows conjures up Kazakhstan as a living, breathing place, full of extraordinary people living extraordinary lives.
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4.2/5

The Dead Lake by Hamid Ismailov , Andrew Bromfield (Translator)

A haunting Russian tale about the environmental legacy of the Cold War. Yerzhan grows up in a remote part of Kazakhstan where the Soviets tests atomic weapons. As a young boy he falls in love with the neighbour's daughter and one evening, to impress her, he dives into a forbidden lake. The radio-active water changes Yerzhan. He will never grow into a man. While the girl he A haunting Russian tale about the environmental legacy of the Cold War. Yerzhan grows up in a remote part of Kazakhstan where the Soviets tests atomic weapons. As a young boy he falls in love with the neighbour's daughter and one evening, to impress her, he dives into a forbidden lake. The radio-active water changes Yerzhan. He will never grow into a man. While the girl he loves becomes a beautiful woman. 'Like a Grimm's Fairy tale, this story transforms an innermost fear into an outward reality. We witness a prepubescent boy's secret terror of not growing up into a man. We also wander in a beautiful, fierce landscape unlike any other we find in Western Literature. And by the end of Yerzhan's tale we are awe-struck by our human resilience in the face of catastrophic, man-made, follies.' ~ Meike Ziervogel, Peirene Press
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3.9/5

Inside Central Asia: A political and cultural history of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Iran by Dilip Hiro

The former Soviet republics of Central Asia comprise a sprawling, politically pivotal, densely populated, and richly cultured area of the world that is nonetheless poorly represented in libraries and mainstream media. Since their political incorporation in Stalin's Soviet era, these countries have gone through a flash of political and economical evolution. But despite thes The former Soviet republics of Central Asia comprise a sprawling, politically pivotal, densely populated, and richly cultured area of the world that is nonetheless poorly represented in libraries and mainstream media. Since their political incorporation in Stalin's Soviet era, these countries have gone through a flash of political and economical evolution. But despite these rapid changes, the growth of oil wealth and U.S. jockeying, and the opening of the region to tourists and businessmen, the spirit of Central Asia has remained untouched at its core. In this comprehensive new treatment, renowned political writer and historian Dilip Hiro offers us a narrative that places the modern politics, peoples, and cultural background of this region firmly into the context of current international focus. Given the strategic location of Central Asia, its predominantly Muslim population, and its hydrocarbon and other valuable resources, it comes as no surprise that the five Central Asian republics are emerging in the twenty-first century as one of the most potentially influential-and coveted-patches of the globe.
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4.1/5

Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata

A kid who considers himself an epic fail discovers the transformative power of love when he deals with adoption in this novel from Cynthia Kadohata, winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award. Eleven-year-old Jaden is adopted, and he knows he’s an “epic fail.’ That’s why his family is traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby—to replace him, he’s sure. And he A kid who considers himself an epic fail discovers the transformative power of love when he deals with adoption in this novel from Cynthia Kadohata, winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award. Eleven-year-old Jaden is adopted, and he knows he’s an “epic fail.’ That’s why his family is traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby—to replace him, he’s sure. And he gets it. He is incapable of stopping his stealing, hoarding, lighting fires, aggressive running, and obsession with electricity. He knows his parents love him, but he feels...nothing. But when they get to Kazakhstan, it turns out the infant they’ve travelled for has already been adopted, and literally within minutes are faced with having to choose from six other babies. While his parents agonize, Jaden is more interested in the toddlers. One, a little guy named Dimash, spies Jaden and barrels over to him every time he sees him. Jaden finds himself increasingly intrigued by and worried about Dimash. Already three years old and barely able to speak, Dimash will soon age out of the orphanage, and then his life will be as hopeless as Jaden feels now. For the first time in his life, Jaden actually feels something that isn’t pure blinding fury, and there’s no way to control it, or its power. From camels rooting through garbage like raccoons, to eagles being trained like hunting dogs, to streets that are more pothole than pavement, Half a World Away is Cynthia Kadohata’s latest spark of a novel.
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4.5/5

Woman in Exile: My Life in Kazakhstan by Juliana Starosolska

Juliana Starosolska was taken by the Stalinists from her parents' home in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv and deported in a sealed boxcar to a distant and primitive outpost in Siberian Kazakhstan. In "Woman in Exile, " she records her ordeals in a series of vignettes that capture the horrific, the humane, and even the occasionally humorous aspects of her experience. Her Juliana Starosolska was taken by the Stalinists from her parents' home in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv and deported in a sealed boxcar to a distant and primitive outpost in Siberian Kazakhstan. In "Woman in Exile, " she records her ordeals in a series of vignettes that capture the horrific, the humane, and even the occasionally humorous aspects of her experience. Her father was arrested by the Stalinists and sent to a forced labor camp deep in Russian Siberia, where he died less than two years later. In the spring of 1940, the rest of his family, who had remained behind in Ukraine-Juliana; her frail mother, Daria; and her brother, Ihor-were forcibly deported by the Soviet government. They were forced to live and work under the most brutally primitive and backbreaking conditions. After the death of her mother and the reassignment of her brother to a different part of Kazakhstan, Juliana found herself alone. When World War II ended, as a former Polish citizen, Juliana was allowed to leave Kazakhstan for Poland in 1946. She immigrated to the United States in 1967, where she resumed her journalistic and literary career. Now she tells the story of those difficult years-of her time as a "Woman in Exile."
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4.5/5

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn , H.T. Willetts (Translation)

The only English translation authorized by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn First published in the Soviet journal Novy Mir in 1962, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich stands as a classic of contemporary literature. The story of labor-camp inmate Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, it graphically describes his struggle to maintain his dignity in the face of communist oppression. An unforget The only English translation authorized by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn First published in the Soviet journal Novy Mir in 1962, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich stands as a classic of contemporary literature. The story of labor-camp inmate Ivan Denisovich Shukhov, it graphically describes his struggle to maintain his dignity in the face of communist oppression. An unforgettable portrait of the entire world of Stalin's forced work camps, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is one of the most extraordinary literary documents to have emerged from the Soviet Union and confirms Solzhenitsyn's stature as "a literary genius whose talent matches that of Dosotevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy"--Harrison Salisbury This unexpurgated 1991 translation by H. T. Willetts is the only authorized edition available and fully captures the power and beauty of the original Russian.
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3.8/5

Ballad of Forgotten Years by Abish Kekilbayev

Here is a novella of ancient times, of savage retribution - of torture and hostage-taking - between the feuding Kazakhs and Turkmen. It tells of crude chieftainly honor and vengeance. Its material is drawn from the oral tradition and folk memory of today's Kazakhs, whose nomadic way of life was sacrificed to Communism generations ago. It is a product of meticulous research Here is a novella of ancient times, of savage retribution - of torture and hostage-taking - between the feuding Kazakhs and Turkmen. It tells of crude chieftainly honor and vengeance. Its material is drawn from the oral tradition and folk memory of today's Kazakhs, whose nomadic way of life was sacrificed to Communism generations ago. It is a product of meticulous research. The single redemptive theme is that of music, specifically the lute in the hands of a young Turkman heir to the chieftaincy, Daulet, who strives to end the vendetta by the beauty of his art. The consequences of Daulet's endeavor and sublime gift are gruesome. Yet in the end this is a story with a most powerful moral.
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3.9/5

Postcards from Stanland: Journeys in Central Asia by David H. Mould

Central Asia has long stood at the crossroads of history. It was the staging ground for the armies of the Mongol Empire, for the nineteenth-century struggle between the Russian and British empires, and for the NATO campaign in Afghanistan. Today, multinationals and nations compete for the oil and gas reserves of the Caspian Sea and for control of the pipelines. Yet “Stanla Central Asia has long stood at the crossroads of history. It was the staging ground for the armies of the Mongol Empire, for the nineteenth-century struggle between the Russian and British empires, and for the NATO campaign in Afghanistan. Today, multinationals and nations compete for the oil and gas reserves of the Caspian Sea and for control of the pipelines. Yet “Stanland” is still, to many, a terra incognita, a geographical blank. Beginning in the mid-1990s, academic and journalist David Mould’s career took him to the region on Fulbright Fellowships and contracts as a media trainer and consultant for UNESCO and USAID, among others. In Postcards from Stanland, he takes readers along with him on his encounters with the people, landscapes, and customs of the diverse countries—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—he came to love. He talks with teachers, students, politicians, environmental activists, bloggers, cab drivers, merchants, Peace Corps volunteers, and more. Until now, few books for a nonspecialist readership have been written on the region, and while Mould brings his own considerable expertise to bear on his account—for example, he is one of the few scholars to have conducted research on post-Soviet media in the region—the book is above all a tapestry of place and a valuable contribution to our understanding of the post-Soviet world.
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4.3/5

The Lost Heart of Asia by Colin Thubron

A land of enormous proportions, countless secrets, and incredible history, Central Asia--the heart of the great Mongol empire of Tamerlane, site of the legendary Silk Route and scene of Stalin's cruelest deportations--is a remote and fascinating region. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of newly independent republics, Central Asia--containing the mag A land of enormous proportions, countless secrets, and incredible history, Central Asia--the heart of the great Mongol empire of Tamerlane, site of the legendary Silk Route and scene of Stalin's cruelest deportations--is a remote and fascinating region. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of newly independent republics, Central Asia--containing the magical cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, and terrain as diverse as the Kazakh steppes, the Karakum desert, and the Pamir mountains--has been in a constant state of transition. The Lost Heart of Asia takes readers into the very heart of this little visited, yet increasingly important region, delivering a rare and moving portrayal of a world in the midst of change.
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4.2/5

Jamilia by Chingiz Aitmatov , James Riordan (Translator)

Jamilia is the first major novel by Chingiz Aytmatov, published originally in Russian in 1958. The novel is told from the point of view of a fictional Kyrgyz artist, Seit, who tells the story by looking back on his childhood. The story recounts the love between his new sister-in-law Jamilya and a local crippled young man, Daniyar, while Jamilia's husband, Sadyk, is "away a Jamilia is the first major novel by Chingiz Aytmatov, published originally in Russian in 1958. The novel is told from the point of view of a fictional Kyrgyz artist, Seit, who tells the story by looking back on his childhood. The story recounts the love between his new sister-in-law Jamilya and a local crippled young man, Daniyar, while Jamilia's husband, Sadyk, is "away at the front" (as a Soviet soldier during World War II). Based on clues in the story, it takes place in northwestern Kyrgyzstan, presumably Talas Province. The story is backdropped against the collective farming culture which was early in its peak in that period. Louis Aragon lauded the novelette as the "world's most beautiful love story". Translated by James Riordan. Chingiz Aïtmatov was born in Kyrgyzstan in 1928. His work appeared in over one hundred languages, and received numerous awards, including the Lenin Prize. He was the Kyrgyz ambassador to the European Union, NATO, UNESCO and the Benelux countries.
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4/5

The Kazakhs by Martha Brill Olcott

This compete history of one of the largest non-Slavic ethnic groups charts it from its emergence in the mid–fifteenth century to the present. Olcott details the major events that have shaped the character of the Islamic nation of Kazakhstan, discussing the rise and fall of the Kazakh Khanate, the Kazakhs in imperial Russia, revolutionary and Soviet Kazakhstan, and the stru This compete history of one of the largest non-Slavic ethnic groups charts it from its emergence in the mid–fifteenth century to the present. Olcott details the major events that have shaped the character of the Islamic nation of Kazakhstan, discussing the rise and fall of the Kazakh Khanate, the Kazakhs in imperial Russia, revolutionary and Soviet Kazakhstan, and the struggle for autonomy under Soviet rule.
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4.2/5

Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata

A kid who considers himself an epic fail discovers the transformative power of love when he deals with adoption in this novel from Cynthia Kadohata, winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award. Eleven-year-old Jaden is adopted, and he knows he’s an “epic fail.’ That’s why his family is traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby—to replace him, he’s sure. And he A kid who considers himself an epic fail discovers the transformative power of love when he deals with adoption in this novel from Cynthia Kadohata, winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award. Eleven-year-old Jaden is adopted, and he knows he’s an “epic fail.’ That’s why his family is traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby—to replace him, he’s sure. And he gets it. He is incapable of stopping his stealing, hoarding, lighting fires, aggressive running, and obsession with electricity. He knows his parents love him, but he feels...nothing. But when they get to Kazakhstan, it turns out the infant they’ve travelled for has already been adopted, and literally within minutes are faced with having to choose from six other babies. While his parents agonize, Jaden is more interested in the toddlers. One, a little guy named Dimash, spies Jaden and barrels over to him every time he sees him. Jaden finds himself increasingly intrigued by and worried about Dimash. Already three years old and barely able to speak, Dimash will soon age out of the orphanage, and then his life will be as hopeless as Jaden feels now. For the first time in his life, Jaden actually feels something that isn’t pure blinding fury, and there’s no way to control it, or its power. From camels rooting through garbage like raccoons, to eagles being trained like hunting dogs, to streets that are more pothole than pavement, Half a World Away is Cynthia Kadohata’s latest spark of a novel.
I WANT TO READ THIS

3.8/5

The Dead Lake by Hamid Ismailov , Andrew Bromfield (Translator)

A haunting Russian tale about the environmental legacy of the Cold War. Yerzhan grows up in a remote part of Kazakhstan where the Soviets tests atomic weapons. As a young boy he falls in love with the neighbour's daughter and one evening, to impress her, he dives into a forbidden lake. The radio-active water changes Yerzhan. He will never grow into a man. While the girl he A haunting Russian tale about the environmental legacy of the Cold War. Yerzhan grows up in a remote part of Kazakhstan where the Soviets tests atomic weapons. As a young boy he falls in love with the neighbour's daughter and one evening, to impress her, he dives into a forbidden lake. The radio-active water changes Yerzhan. He will never grow into a man. While the girl he loves becomes a beautiful woman. 'Like a Grimm's Fairy tale, this story transforms an innermost fear into an outward reality. We witness a prepubescent boy's secret terror of not growing up into a man. We also wander in a beautiful, fierce landscape unlike any other we find in Western Literature. And by the end of Yerzhan's tale we are awe-struck by our human resilience in the face of catastrophic, man-made, follies.' ~ Meike Ziervogel, Peirene Press
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