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Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum
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Gulag: A History (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Anne Applebaum

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1,520254,857 (4.14)149
Member:snowish-99
Title:Gulag: A History
Authors:Anne Applebaum
Info:Anchor (2004), Edition: 2nd, Paperback, 736 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:*****
Tags:gulag, non-fiction, history, XX century, Soviet Union, Stalin

Work details

Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum (2003)

Recently added byLalabert, Brian.Hiller, nfmgirl2, inre, private library, karyberg, pagewright, SENSpence, pitjrw
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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
From a historical perspective, Gulag is an in-depth treatise on the creation, evolution and eventual dismantling of the immense Soviet concentration camps that became known as the Gulag. Far from a set system, the Gulag evolved with the changing needs of the Soviet Union – or the changing moods of Stalin – resulting in dramatic differences from era to era, or even camp to camp. Anne Applebaum writes a detailed accounting of the entire Gulag system from beginning to end. A commendable work of scholarship, Gulag misses no detail. However, it does fail to make an emotional connection to the prisoners who lived and often died in a system that didn’t make sense, even to its creators. Instead, it reads like a ledger, cataloging the arrests, camps, deaths and incidents without ever really letting us inside the lives of the people who brought about a concentration camp system that lasted for half a century. Gulag provides an understanding of a system that dominated Soviet Russia, but much like the Soviet system itself, it does lack any humanity. ( )
  csayban | Feb 3, 2014 |
The book is based on first hand accounts of the Gulag (notably Shalamov) and effectively shows the horror of the camps as do other authors such as Solzhenitsyn, Klevniuk, Sgovio, Herman or Tzouliadis.

The problem is that Applebaum writes with an agenda and systematically blanks out the central Jewish role in Bolshevism.

The interested reader can paste back in what the author has cut out:

- The October 1917 Bolshevik coup was launched against the Provisional Government and destroyed the Constitutional Convention that was preparing the way for a Russian democracy. The many contemporary accounts wrote of the indiscriminate violence against both Russians and foreigners with a further theme being the Jewish identity of the Bolsheviks, e.g. American ambassador David Francis, "The Bolshevik leaders here, most of whom are Jews and 90 percent of whom are returned exiles, care little for Russia or any other country but are internationalists and they are trying to start a worldwide social revolution" (see David R. Francis', "Russia from the American Embassy, April, 1916-November, 1918 [1921]").

- Dozens of first hand accounts delivered to the British government told the same story [ Google: “a collection of reports on bolshevism in Russia pdf .“]. They were correct in that most of the Bolshevik Central Committee was Jewish as was 70% of the 115 member Bolshevik government (Central Committee, Council of People's Commissars, Central Executive Committee and Extraordinary Commission). The top leadership was exclusively Jewish if you count Lenin: i.e. Vladimir Ulyanov, Lev Bronstein, Ovsei-Gershon Apfelbaum and Lev Rozenfeld (a.k.a. Lenin, Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev).

- The Bolsheviks declared that anti-Semitism was punishable by death while showing extreme violence against any opponents, especially other socialists and communists. Lenin declared that the French revolutionary Terror had failed through lack of intensity and instructed his Jewish terrorists to not repeat the same mistake. He also raised Stalin to the Central Committee for his obvious intelligence and undoubted capacity for easy violence and deception (see Robert Service's excellent “Stalin, A Biography”).

- The organized Gulag that appeared in 1928 with the White Sea-Baltic canal project followed the same lines with unbelievable conditions and all Jewish control and management:

Lazar Kogan (Head of Gulag and Chief of Construction 1930-32)
Matvei Berman (Deputy Head of Gulag to 1931 and Head from 1932)
Seymon Firin (Assistant to Deputy Head of the Gulag 1932 and Deputy Head from 1933)
Yakov Rapoport (Deputy Chief of Construction from 1931)
Naftaly Frenkel (Assistant Head of Canal Construction)
Genrik Yagoda (Deputy Head of OGPU (NKVD) secret police from 1924 and later Head until 1936)

Five of them received the Order of Lenin for their Gulag achievements with Firin writing a celebratory book about it.

- This same group of Jews went on to head the Gulag as it rapidly spread throughout Soviet Russia (“metastasized” is the word used by Solzhenitsyn) while at the same time Russia witnessed a new Jewish “revolutionary” bourgeoisie amply described by Slezkine in his book, “The Jewish Century” as they enjoyed elite educational academies, worshiped Pushkin and visited their country dachas (the inspiration behind George Orwell's book, "Animal Farm" ). None of this in “Gulag – A History”.

- Equally the book gives three paragraphs to the Ukrainian death-famine (Holodomor) of 1932-33 in which 6-7 million Ukrainians died (at least 30% of them children). By June 1933 it is estimated that 30.000 people were dying every day while Jewish Politiburo member Lazar Kaganovich meticulously organized the removal of all foodstuff from the country with his commissars killing wild animals, setting up watchtowers and sending out inspection teams with any hoarding punishable by death.

This reviewer has the feeling that if 7 million Jews had been starved to death by Ukrainians, Applebaum would have given events more that three paragraphs, not to say that that a whole industry would have been built around it.

Its reasonable to ask why the author wrote the book. The Western media and academia have been happy to ignore the subject for 50 years so why is the Gulag suddenly “rediscovered” with such fanfare?

Applebaum says that, “Until now, the social, cultural and political framework for knowledge of the Gulag has not been in place”, whereas a more likely explanation could be that in the present Age of Open Information (and despite the best efforts of the Western media), there has been a growing awareness of the identities of Jewish Bolshevik mass murderers such as Yagoda, Frenkel and Kaganovich - hence the need for a new “definitive” goodthinkers account that puts the story straight.

A particularly questionable part of this effort are the continous sly attacks on Solzhenitsyn. Apparently his crime was to have told the told the truth about the central Jewish core of Bolshevism. ( )
  Miro | Jan 5, 2014 |
Another big thank you due to my fellow LTers who recommended this book. There are many excellent reviews that detail the content of this book, so I'm planning to just point out a few things I learned and the things that surprised me most.

First of all, the reaction I got from friends and coworkers as I carried this book along was interesting. I got two main reactions - either a joke about being "sent to the Gulag" or "sent to Siberia" or "what's a gulag?".

Well. People don't joke about Nazi concentration camps and everybody knows about them. The Gulag involved millions of people, millions died (though there weren't systematic mass murders), millions were forcibly removed from their homes and condemned to certain death in remote locations and yet many people know nothing about this. Even Russians don't want to talk about it.

To be fair, I personally knew very little about the Gulag. I learned that so-called political prisoners were lumped into prisons with actual criminals. I learned that the camps were tasked with jobs that were impossible to complete and also tasked with major projects that were no use to anyone, like hundreds of miles of roads and railroads that were never used. I learned that most of the political prisoners weren't really very political at all ( not like they were out protesting Stalin or something). And that those arrested weren't just one ethnicity, religion, or economic class - they really crossed all sections of the Soviet Union. I also learned that there were many, many people outside the Gulag who were exiled but aren't counted as technically part of the Gulag.

Basically, almost everything I read in this book was news to me and I'm very much looking forward to Applebaum's next book. ( )
  japaul22 | Oct 14, 2013 |
have ebook version
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
I cannot praise GULAG by Anne Applebaum strongly enough! Run to the nearest store and pick up a copy now.
A long time ago I received my degree in Soviet Foreign Politics, I have lived in the former USSR, and I enjoy Russian culture and literature. With that said, GULAG truly ranks up there in my top non-fiction books and one that must be read by all. ( )
  knittingmomof3 | Mar 10, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:26 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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)

(summary from another edition)

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