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The Fight of Our Lives

My Time with Zelenskyy, Ukraine's Battle for Democracy, and What It Means for the World

Prologue by Iuliia Mendel / Read by Jennifer Jill Araya

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About The Book

“Moving.” —The Washington Post

When Ukrainian journalist Iuliia Mendel got the call she had been hired to work for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, she had no idea what was to come.

In this frank and moving inside account, Zelenskyy’s former press secretary tells the story of his improbable rise from popular comedian to the president of Ukraine. Mendel had a front row seat to many of the key events preceding the 2022 Russian invasion. From attending meetings between Zelenskyy and Putin and other European leaders, visiting the front lines in Donbas, to fielding press inquiries after the infamous phone calls between Donald Trump and Zelenskyy that led to Trump’s first impeachment.

Mendel saw firsthand Zelenskyy’s efforts to transform his country from a poor, backward Soviet state into a vibrant, prosperous European democracy. Mendel sheds light on the massive economic problems facing Ukraine and the entrenched corrupt oligarchs in league with Russia. She witnessed the Kremlin’s repeated attacks to discredit Zelenskyy through disinformation and an army of bots and trolls.

Woven into her account are details about her own life as a member of Zelenskyy’s new Ukraine. Written with the sound of Russian bombs and exploding shells in the background, Mendel details life lived under Russian siege in 2022. She says goodbye to her fiancé who joins the front lines, like so many other Ukrainian men. Throughout this story of Zelenskyy, Ukraine, and its extraordinary people, Iuliia Mendel reminds us of the paramount importance of truth and human values, especially in these darkest of times.

About The Author

Kateryna Senchenko

Iuliia Mendel is a Ukrainian journalist who served as press secretary and spokesperson for Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, from 2019 until 2021. Mendel has more than fourteen years of journalism experience on TV and in print media and her writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostVICEPolitico Europe, and many more. Follow her on Twitter @IuliiaMendel. The Fight of Our Lives is her first book.

About The Reader

Why We Love It

“This is the first story from Ukraine after the 2022 Russian Invasion. The book provides crucial context on a monumental historical event.”

—Nick C., Senior Editor, on The Fight of Our Lives

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (September 13, 2022)
  • Runtime: 7 hours and 13 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781797149950

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Raves and Reviews

"Jennifer Jill Araya’s narration bubbles over with the author’s enthusiasm for Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. Mendel is the president’s former press secretary. Araya adds a soupçon of her anger toward Zelensky’s rivals to the discussion of Ukraine’s political environment before the recent war. When Mendel turns to the current invasion by Russia, mostly in the last chapter, Araya goes full throttle in expressing her outrage over the Mariupol bombings and the West’s reluctance to help Ukraine defend itself. With Araya stressing key points, Mendel discusses the use of social media and “fake news” to spread falsehoods. The audiobook opens with a timeline of events leading up to the invasion and an introduction from Mendel."

– AudioFile Magazine

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