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Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Timothy Snyder

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7173413,134 (4.34)90
Member:txorig
Title:Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
Authors:Timothy Snyder
Info:Basic Books (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 544 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
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Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder (2010)

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English (28)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
A path-breaking book that analyzes the murderous fate that was visited upon the citizens of nations in East and Central Europe under Stalin and Hitler. Incredibly detailed, the book explores such brutal Soviet policies as the Moscow-ordered famine in Ukraine, the Great Purge, and ethnic deportations that led to tens of thousands of deaths. The author also analyzes the Holocaust and presents a new theory of its cause and an overview of its process. The residents in this narrow slice of Europe had to be some of the unluckiest humans on the planet; for some, Stalin's NKVD was followed by Nazi death squads--and then, as the miltary situation changed--by Soviet terror again. Excellent for understanding the policies and planning that the wartime German and Soviet governments employed. New information includes Nazi documents that forecast the starvation of tens of millions of people in Soviet Russia given a Wermacht lightning victory. Of course a quick knockout did not occur. But the Germans did starve millions of Russian prisoners of war and the death rate was in the millions. The cruelty of these two states is boundless; after the Katyn Forest massacre of Polish officers, Stalin had the families of these men deported to Kazachstan, where many perished in such an alien location. This book demands a strong stomach and a strong urge to learn the "truth." One encounters aspects of humanity--such as routine cannabalism in the face of starvation--that are shocking and simultaneously "rational" given the provocation. ( )
1 vote neddludd | Jun 24, 2014 |
A book that looks at topics familiar to historians, the Great terror of Stalin, the Holocaust, the Katyn Massacre. etc, geographically rather than politically, or ethnically. The result is a masterpiece.

Many criticize the book as drawing a equivalency between Stalin and Hitler and rail the primacy of the Holocaust being is denied by including other deaths. Syders points out most Jew killed by the Nazi's dies before any of the gas chambers were built and any western Jews were deported. He says the gas chambers of Auschwitz are central in our image of the mass killing of the 30s and 40s because survivors lived to tell their story, unlike so may Jews in Ukraine, or Belorussia where only numbers, staggering numbers of those shot remain. Nuance exists in history and Snyder goes to great lengths and used detailed information to show differences in many of the tragedies, but does not shy away from pointing out their similarities, as other writers have done to avoid controversy.

Snyder points out that many people suffered from Stalin, then Hitler, then Stalin again as borders shifted during the war. He also painstakingly points out the some of the killers were facing extreme moral dilemmas skillyfully manipulated by the Soviet Union or the Nazis regime to kill innocents in the hope of saving themselves, or families.

The conclusion of the book in an essential read. This portion shows the exaggerated numbers and erroneous causes cited by many national groups to advance an agenda. ( )
1 vote yeremenko | May 26, 2014 |
In Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin Timothy Snyder looks at those lands that were occupied by both the Nazis and the Soviets, and how it impacted those places. He also, more importantly, seeks to both show how mass murder occurred and to make those horrifyingly large numbers represent real people. From the Baltic states, through eastern Poland, Belarus, the western edge of Russia and especially Ukraine, Snyder shows how these lands contained the vast majority of civilian deaths in the twelve years between 1933 to 1945.

Beginning with Stalin's Great Famine in the Ukraine, in which 3.3 people died, and continuing through final acts of ethnic cleansing that turned diverse and vibrant populations homogeneous, Snyder seeks to humanize the statistics, to explain the motivations of the perpetrators and to return to the dead the stories of their lives. He is too successful for this book to be easy reading.

People were perhaps alike in dying and in death, but each of them was different until that final moment, each had different preoccupations and presentiments until all was clear and all was black.

Snyder looks at why both Stalin and Hitler found it necessary to slaughter so many civilians, most who posed no political threat, many of whom were children. He's interested in the motivations of the guards, the policemen holding the guns, the soldiers obeying orders. He's also interested in the lives of those who died and the reasons for those deaths.

Only there in the ditch were these people reduced to nothing, or to their number, which was 33,761.

I took copious notes while reading this book, to absorb more of what I was learning, but also as a buffer against that relentless stream of information. Snyder writes well, has clearly done extensive research and has a passion for his subject. He wants the reader to be informed of the events of the past, the motivations and reasons, but most of all, he wants the reader to see each death as an individual story cut short. ( )
5 vote RidgewayGirl | Apr 22, 2014 |
A comprehensive catalog of the policies of mass killing carried out in lands occupied at one time by the Nazi regime and another by the Soviet regime. The concluding essay is pretty. ( )
1 vote jcvogan1 | Mar 28, 2014 |
Quite an unique and intelligent work bringing out the new information on this part of the world since the fall of the Soviet system. ( )
  JayLivernois | Mar 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Snyder’s ambition is to persuade the West—and the rest of the world—to see the war in a broader perspective. He does so by disputing popular assumptions about victims, death tolls, and killing methods—of which more in a moment—but above all about dates and geography. The title of this book, Bloodlands, is not a metaphor. Snyder’s “bloodlands,” which others have called “borderlands,” run from Poznan in the West to Smolensk in the East, encompassing modern Poland, the Baltic states, Ukraine, Belarus, and the edge of western Russia (see map on page 10). This is the region that experienced not one but two—and sometimes three—wartime occupations. This is also the region that suffered the most casualties and endured the worst physical destruction.

More to the point, this is the region that experienced the worst of both Stalin’s and Hitler’s ideological madness.
 
Mr Snyder’s book is revisionist history of the best kind: in spare, closely argued prose, with meticulous use of statistics, he makes the reader rethink some of the best-known episodes in Europe’s modern history.
added by ekorrhjulet | editThe Economist (Oct 14, 2010)
 
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your golden hair Margarete,
your ashen hair Shulamit

Paul Celan
"Death Fugue"
Everything flows, everything changes.
You can't board the same prison train twice.

Vasily Grossman
Everything flows
A stranger drowned on the Black Sea alone
With no to hear his prayers for forgiveness.

"Storm on the Black Sea"
Ukranian traditional song
Whole cities disappear. In nature's stead
Only a white stead to counter nonexistence.

Tomas Venclova
"The shield of Achilles"
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"Now we will live!" This is what the hungry boy liked to say, as he walked along the quiet roadside, or through the empty fields.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In this revelatory book, Timothy Snyder offers a groundbreaking investigation of Europe's killing fields and a sustained explanation of the motives and methods of both Hitler and Stalin. He anchors the history of Hitler's Holocaust and Stalin's Terror in their time and place and provides a fresh account of the relationship between the two regime.… (more)

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