Svetlana Alexievich is a Belarusian oral historian and journalist whose works focus upon the lives of individuals who have experienced some of the most significant and dramatic events of the Soviet period of Russian history. The historical experiences of individual human beings are at the center of Alexievich's works, which emphasize the ways in which individuals have responded to or perceived the challenges that they faced. My thesis examines four of Alexievich's works: the first concerns the role that women played in the Soviet armed forces in World War II; the second analyzes the memories that people who lived through the war as children have of their childhood experiences and impressions during wartime; the third is a collection of oral histories with people who lived through the immediate experience of the nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl; the final work is based upon oral histories with a broad spectrum of Soviet citizens of different ages, classes, and genders who lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In her works Alexievich goes beyond the broader historical narratives that characterize most academic history to explore the details of the individual experience. In this effort she seeks to find details of everyday experiences and impressions that can serve to illuminate the broader dimensions of the time and place in ways that might otherwise be lost. Through a close reading of the works I have chosen here, I hope to show how her oral histories have enhanced our understanding of what were already recognized as major historical events.