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Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum

Gulag: A History (2003)

by Anne Applebaum

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Very well-written and gripping account of the USSR's infamous prison system. Lacks excuses and ideological attacks, unlike too many histories of the Soviet Union.
  lharris4 | Jul 8, 2017 |
Incredibly intense and dense in details, this book is undoubtedly one of the best scholarships on the Russian gulags. I am in awe of the author's ability to capture the immense scope of all that the gulags were and represented, while also presenting the various anecdotal accounts from first-hand memoirs, distilling all the information to their very essence without losing any of the pathos.

Throughout the book, it is a constant reminder that the terrifying histories that we do have records of mostly come from survivor accounts. They had suffered through all these extreme inhumane conditions, which begs the horrifying question, what about the ones we never hear about? It is therefore all the more important for these stories to be recorded and passed down to later generations so that the survivors who described what happened - and those who never got the chance - will never be forgotten.

Recommended for history buffs and/or even readers of Russian (Soviet or pre-Soviet or even post-Soviet) literature: it is impossible to fully appreciate Russian literature without understanding this very important part of Russian history as even though the gulags as we nowadays understand them only really existed in the Soviet era, they had been a part of the Russian life since the seventeenth century in the form of forced-labour brigades. ( )
  kitzyl | Jun 25, 2017 |
History of the life in the Gulag under Stalin ( )
  JackSweeney | Jan 9, 2017 |
Quite the book. And quite the research she did. Who knew you could be interested in 700 pages about the Gulag? She told a great story. Liked how the chapters were layed out about different facets and people with regards to the camps. it is astounding how big the entire Soviet Gulag became. Sad that I knew so little about it till now. ( )
  bermandog | Dec 30, 2016 |
A detailed, horrifying account of Stalin's death/work camps. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
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Anne Applebaum’s Gulag: A History is the first volume that attempts to give a detailed and fairly comprehensive narrative of the origin, purpose, workings, and reality of the system based both on the memoirs of those who lived through and survived the camps and on the now-available archive documents in Russia.
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This is a history of the Gulag: a history of the vast network of labour camps that were once scattered across the length and breadth of the Soviet Union, from the islands of the White Sea to the shores of the Black Sea, from the Arctic Circle to the plains of central Asia, from Murmansk to Vorkuta to Kazakhstan, from central Moscow to the Leningrad suburbs.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140283102, Paperback)

This landmark book uncovers for the first time in detail one of the greatest horrors of the twentieth century: the vast system of Soviet camps that were responsible for the deaths of countless millions. "Gulag" is the only major history in any language to draw together the mass of memoirs and writings on the Soviet camps that have been published in Russia and the West. Using these, as well as her own original research in NKVD archives and interviews with survivors, Anne Applebaum has written a fully documented history of the camp system: from its origins under the tsars, to its colossal expansion under Stalin's reign of terror, its zenith in the late 1940s and eventual collapse in the era of glasnost. It is a gigantic feat of investigation, synthesis and moral reckoning.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:44 -0400)

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A fully documented history of the Soviet camp system, from its origins in the Russian Revolution to its collapse in the era of glasnost. Anne Applebaum first lays out the chronological history of the camps and the logic behind their creation, enlargement, and maintenance. Applebaum also examines how life was lived within this shadow country: how prisoners worked, how they ate, where they lived, how they died, how they survived. She examines their guards and their jailers, the horrors of transportation in empty cattle cars, the strange nature of Soviet arrests and trials, the impact of World War II, the relations between different national and religious groups, and the escapes, as well as the extraordinary rebellions that took place in the 1950s. She concludes by examining the disturbing question why the Gulag has remained relatively obscure, in the historical memory of both the former Soviet Union and the West.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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