Advance Praise – Life is War

Advance praise for the next HammerOn title, Shannon Woodcock’s Life is War, published on 25 April, is hitting the HammerOn inbox.

Blendi Kajsiu, author of A Discourse Analysis of Corruption: Instituting Neoliberalism Against Corruption in Albania, 1998-2005 said ‘this book is one of those rare works that combines that best of two worlds, academia and literature. The book is rigorously academic in its investigation, analysis as well as the insights it offers. At the same time it reads like a novel that you cannot put down. Through moving individual life stories Woodcock allows the reader to peer into and understand everyday life in a totalitarian system. Hence, these are not the stories of some isolated and random individuals. They are carefully chosen and detailed accounts of individual struggles, suffering and survivals that sum up the life of a whole nation under an oppressive communist regime.

Its combination of academic rigor and literary skill sets this book apart from other works on communist Albania in particular and communism in general. As an academic work the book throws a unique and penetrative gaze on everyday life in communist Albania. One of its many academic merits here is that it dispels socially held notions in Albania about the strong rule of law under communism, as opposed to a lawless transition period, by disclosing how in everyday life Albanians experienced state power as highly arbitrary and unpredictable. As a literary work the book is unparalleled in its redemptive character as far as the victims of Albanian communism are concerned. Through the act of narration this book redeems the stories and lives of its characters, which would have otherwise perished in oblivion. One can hardly ask more of a book.’

Gail Kligman, co-author of the award-winning Peasants Under Siege: The Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, 1949-1962 saidLife is War gives voice to the experiences of Albanians—men, women, Romani, Vlachs among them—who survived Enver Hoxha’s notoriously repressive and increasingly isolated regime. The stories Shannon Woodcock chronicles enrich our limited knowledge of everyday life in Albania, and are a welcome addition to social histories and collected memory studies of the communist period in Eastern Europe.’

So far we have two events lined up to mark the publication of the book. Both events will take place in London, and we are working on a Bristol event. Launches will also take place in Albania, details to be confirmed. 

Author Reading with Shannon Woodcock and Q & A: Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania
Tuesday 24 May 2016, 7pm
£3 entry redeemable against any purchase
Housmans Book Shop, 5 Caledonian Road, King’s Cross, London N1 9DX

Book Launch: Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania by Shannon Woodcock
Wednesday 25 May 2016, 6.30-8pm
The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide
29 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DP