• The war in Ukraine is pushing a country of 44 million people to humanitarian catastrophe.
  • Young people in the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community have identified 11 books to gain a deeper understanding of Ukraine.
  • Many books explore key events, including the Soviet famine of the 1930s, which killed millions of Ukrainians, to the Orange Revolution of 2004.

Young people globally are responding to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is pushing a country of 44 million people to humanitarian catastrophe.

The Global Shapers Community, a network of more than 10,000 young people in almost 150 countries, has curated a list of 11 books to help raise understanding of Ukraine and its war-torn history.

An initiative of the World Economic Forum, the Community is a movement of young people under the age of 30, which delivers projects to lift the fortunes of local communities, while contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

What is a Global Shaper?

The Global Shapers Community is a network of young people under the age of 30 who are working together to drive dialogue, action and change to address local, regional and global challenges.

The community spans more than 8,000 young people in 165 countries and territories.

Teams of Shapers form hubs in cities where they self-organize to create projects that address the needs of their community. The focus of the projects are wide-ranging, from responding to disasters and combating poverty, to fighting climate change and building inclusive communities.

Examples of projects include Water for Life, a effort by the Cartagena Hub that provides families with water filters that remove biological toxins from the water supply and combat preventable diseases in the region, and Creativity Lab from the Yerevan Hub, which features activities for children ages 7 to 9 to boost creative thinking.

Each Shaper also commits personally and professionally to take action to preserve our planet.

Here are the books they recommend.

Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum

A history of the Soviet famine from 1931 to 1933, which killed millions of Ukrainians.

Cover of a book.
Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum
Image: Penguin Random House

The Ukrainian Night: An Intimate History of Revolution by Marci Shore

An account of the 2013-14 Ukrainian Revolution, inspired by the stories of people who were there.

Cover of a book.
The Ukrainian Night: An Intimate History of Revolution by Marci Shore
Image: Yale University Press

The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine by Serhii Plokhy

The award-winning historian examines the long history of conflict over Ukraine.

Cover of a book.
The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine by Serhii Plokhy
Image: Penguin

From ‘The Ukraine’ to Ukraine: A Contemporary History (1991-2021) edited by Georgiy Kasianov, Mykhailo Minakov, Matthew Rojansky

A collection of stories about Ukraine and its people since the country became independent in 1991.

Cover of a book.
From ‘The Ukraine’ to Ukraine: A Contemporary History (1991-2021) edited by Georgiy Kasianov, Mykhailo Minakov, Matthew Rojansky
Image: Columbia University Press

Ukraine's Maidan, Russia's War: A Chronicle and Analysis of the Revolution of Dignity by Mychailo Wynnyckyj

An account of how Ukrainians fought back against the Russian regime in 2014.

Cover of a book.
Ukraine's Maidan, Russia's War: A Chronicle and Analysis of the Revolution of Dignity by Mychailo Wynnyckyj
Image: Columbia University Press

Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine by Anna Reid

The story of Ukraine’s early origins, war-torn past and fight to create a national identity.

Cover of a book.
Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine by Anna Reid
Image: Weidenfeld and Nicolson

Ukrainer: Ukrainian Insider by Bogdan Logvynenko

The printed edition of a 2016-2018 digital media project exploring Ukraine’s most historic regions.

Cover of a book.
Ukrainer: Ukrainian Insider by Bogdan Logvynenko
Image: Ukrainer

UKRAINE: Food and History by the The Ukrainian Institute in cooperation with the Їzhakultura Project

The past and present of Ukrainian cuisine is explored, alongside traditional recipes and cooking techniques.

Cover of a book.
UKRAINE: Food and History by the The Ukrainian Institute in cooperation with the Їzhakultura Project
Image: Ukrainian Institute

One Hundred Years in Galicia: Events That Shaped Ukraine and Eastern Europe by Dennis Ougrin, Anastasia Ougrin

A history of Ukrainian Galicia and the many extraordinary stories of survival against the odds.

Cover of a book.
One Hundred Years in Galicia: Events That Shaped Ukraine and Eastern Europe by Dennis Ougrin, Anastasia Ougrin
Image: Cambridge Scholars

The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation by Andrew Wilson

An exploration of Ukrainian identity and history through events such as the Orange Revolution of 2004.

Cover of a book.
The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation by Andrew Wilson
Image: Yale Books

Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder

New voices from Eastern Europe help inform a re-examination of the Holocaust and the risks it still embodies.

Cover of a book.
Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning by Timothy Snyder
Image: Timothy Snyder