Booked Up with Jen Taub

Invasion by Luke Harding

January 8, 2023

In This Episode:

Nearly a year into Russia’s Febuary 2022 invasion of Ukraine, journalist and author Luke Harding reflects on the people he met in the war zone while researching for his new book INVASION: THE INSIDE STORY OF RUSSIA’S BLOODY WAR AND UKRAINE’S FIGHT FOR SURVIVAL. Some of these brave sources are survivors of the Bucha massacre, who shared with him the trauma of losing loved ones and direct experiences of the violent atrocities. Others include a once optimistic contact from Mariupol who turned desperate, phoning Harding (who was 1,000 kilometers away) begging him to save his wife and children.

The book is spellbinding on its own merits, yet, this interview with Harding uniquely reveals the personal toll that reporting from a war zone takes on a journalist with the associated survivor’s guilt. Among the pain, though, is laughter, including the humor and pride associated with the Ukrainians on Snake Island. On the day of the invasion, they were being fired upon by the Moskva, Russia’s giant guided-missile cruiser that patroled the Black Sea with a crew of more than 500 men. The Russians warned the Ukrainians on the island to surrender or they would be bombed. In response, the Ukrianian border guard believing they were facing certain death or capture said, “Russian War Ship, go fuck yourself.”  Not only did these men survive, but later, in April, the Moskva caught fire and sunk. The Ukrainians claimed credit for its demise.

Given his extensive background reporting from Russia as the former Moscow bureau chief, there are few if any reporters who have the first-hand understanding of Putin’s goals to retake Ukraine and beyond, and his lack of concern for the death toll he will run up trying, and failing to reach that goal.


Contact Booked Up:

You can email Jen & the Booked Up team at: BOOKEDUP@POLITICON.COM or by writing to:


Get More from Luke Harding

Twitter | Guardian Website | Author of several books including INVASION, COLLUSION, THE SNOWDEN FILES and A VERY EXPENSIVE POISON


Get More from Jen Taub:

Twitter | Website | Author of BIG DIRTY MONEY

Site by ICON
Privacy Policy Cookie Policy Terms and Conditions