Header overlay
Boys in Zinc
  • ISBN: 9780241264119
  • Pages: 304
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Translation: Andrew Bromfield

Boys in Zinc

Svetlana Alexievich

SF Subscriber Prices

UK & Ireland £11.99 *save £2.00
Overseas £13.99 *save £2.00

Non-Subscriber Prices

UK & Ireland £13.99
Overseas £15.99
  • Gift wrap available
  • Pre-order
  • All prices include P&P. Overseas rates & subscriber discounts will be applied once you have selected a shipping type for each item during the checkout process.
  • Special stock order
Non Slightly Foxed title: Minimum 5-10 day delivery time.
● If you are a current subscriber to the quarterly your basket will update to show any discounts before the payment page during checkout ● If you want to subscribe now and buy books or goods at the member rate please add a subscription to your basket before adding other items

From 1979 to 1989 Soviet troops engaged in a war in Afghanistan that claimed thousands of casualties on both sides. While the Soviet Union talked about a ‘peace-keeping’ mission, the dead were shipped back in sealed zinc coffins. Boys in Zinc presents the honest testimonies of soldiers, doctors and nurses, mothers, wives and siblings who describe the lasting effects of war. Weaving together their stories, Svetlana Alexievich shows us the truth of the Soviet-Afghan conflict.

Reviewed by Christian Tyler in Slightly Foxed Issue 60.

Histories of the Soul


Boys in Zinc (a reference to the metal coffins in which casualties were sent back to Russia) is an indictment of war, the horrors witnessed by the young conscripts and the grief of mothers who have lost an only child. We hear what death on the battlefield really looks like. It’s nothing like the movies, says one survivor. A soldier shot in the head can run for half a kilometre crazily chasing his own brains as they stream from his skull. Mothers describe the trauma of bereavement. What exactly lies inside that zinc coffin they cannot see and are not allowed to know. They had been assured that only sons would not be sent to Afghanistan, and would now never trust the state again . . .

Extract from Slightly Foxed Issue 60, Winter 2018

Histories of the Soul

Alexievich was not interested in conventional responses, the kind of thing people say to journalists when they are shy, afraid of controversy or anxious to please. Since this was Russia, she had also...

Read more

Comments & Reviews

Leave your review

Similar Items

Sign up to our e-newsletter

Sign up for dispatches about new issues, books and podcast episodes, highlights from the archive, events, special offers and giveaways.