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Al and acclaimed history Anne Applebaum offers the first fully documented portrait of the Gulag from its origins in the Russian Revolution through its expansion under Stalin to its collapse in the era of glasnost Applebaum intimately re creates what lif A third to a fourth remains when I write this I have 8 hours left of 27 hours and 45 minutes I am chugging along but I ll tell you Gulag A History is an exceptionally hard read The topic is dark and I am usually fine with difficult subjects but this proves to be harder than I thought The book is VERY thorough Chapter after chapter covering every possible aspect of the Gulag camps I have read a lot previously on the topic References are made to much of what I have read beforeand yet still there is The material presented is well organized The author analyzes the evidence she doesn t simply accept what is being said but compares information with other sources Yet there is so much information you get drowned by the details and what is discussed is so very horrible Here is one example of the meticulous analytical manner in which facts are studied The food eaten in the camps is discussed so of course food portions in grams must be listed too for each and every prisoner type On top of that the water content which skews the nutrient content for the given weight is documented See what I mean by thorough Phew Thoroughness on top of being a very difficult subject makes this a hard read It is a clinically accurate and an encyclopedic tome Tons of references to particular individual experiences This I likeOn completion I want to re emphasize what I noted above The book is well organized well researched thorough meticulously documented and encyclopedic in content Multiple references to particular individuals experiences are sited Statements are not taken at face value instead each is evaluated to discover the real truth How is the book organized There are three sections The first covers how the camps came into being and developed with time The central section covers life in the camps divided into chapters focusing on different themes ie different aspects of the camps Here are some examples of the themes arrest interrogations incarceration in prisons transport to the camps intermediary transit camps Once in the camps the following themes are eually meticulously documented freedom of movement classification of the incarcerated bathing dining food sleeping facilities work propaganda punishment and reward communication with the outside world spiritual issues criminals versus political prisoners women and children and births and nurseries and sex and rape and prostitution and love and homosexuality I simply cannot list everything What is essential to understand is that every aspect is meticulously documented There are statistics and uotes from the incarcerated The third section is about the dismantlement of the camps and the situation at the end of the 20th century Finally there is an epilogue that focuses on why the author felt the book needed to be written The first and the third section are in chronological order Numerous references are made to authors such as Aleksandr Solzjenitsyn Yevgenia Ginzburg Osip Mandelstam Andrej Sacharov and others I found the war years and the treatment of Poles Crimean Tartars Ukrainians Chechens and other Caucasians seen from the perspective of current events particularly interesting Also Putin s background The book s organization and clear writing makes it easy to follow BUTyou can feel at points that you are drowning in all the information It is like reading an encyclopedia section of over 600 pages If I were writing a research paper this would be a fantastic resource It is itself a bit like a research paper I would have appreciated a bit editing Even if it is easy to understand it doesn t read as a book for the general public in that it is so comprehensive I do think there was a real need for such a book How you rate a book depends on what you personally are looking for My three star rating is by no means a judgment of the book s uality my rating only shows my personal appreciation of the book I liked it and would definitely recommend it to others along with a word of warning that it is at times tedious and often relates horrible eventsThe narration of the audiobook by Laural Merlington was absolutely excellent I cannot judge her Russian pronunciation I liked the speed at which it was narrated and the ease at understanding each word Clearly narrated This is essential in a book of non fiction I am giving the narration five stars

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Gulag a history

E was like in the camps and links them to the larger history of the Soviet Union Immediately recognized as a landmark and long overdue work of scholarship Gulag is an essential book for anyone who wishes to understand the history of the twentieth centur A 5 star read without a doubt This book impacted me on so many levels I was absorbed and utterly fascinated with every word I read My family is from Russia I am a first gen American and many of the events and situations which occurred in this book related to my family history It s impact was tremendous as I learned so much of what had happened and what it must have been like for my family living and eventually escaping during Stalin s reign As a young girl I heard stories of my grandfather having been in a labor camp but until I read this I never knew what that really meant My family knew a dissident who vacationed in the same resort we did every year until I read this I truly did not understand what that meant either Of course we all can intellectually know what that means but Applebaum brings it to light on so many levels I feel like I had the best Russian history lesson yet was emotionally engaged the whole time What better way to learn about history Anne Applebaum is truly a talented writer It is evident how well researched this book is and she is able to present it in such a wonderfully engaging and readable format Speaking for myself other than knowing that labor camps existed I had NO idea to the extent and to the length of time they existed I am sure I am not alone in this and this book brings so much to our understanding of the world I feel it is a very important contribution to history and a wonderful memorial to those who experienced these miserable situations I feel it also brings an understanding of the Russian people both past and presentI highly recommend this book

Anne Applebaum ✓ 8 read

The Gulag a vast array of Soviet concentration camps that held millions of political and criminal prisoners was a system of repression and punishment that terrorized the entire society embodying the worst tendencies of Soviet communism In this magisteri Page 102 my book from Stalin and Beria an enemy of the people is not only one who commits sabotage but one who doubts the rightness of the Party line women were arrested as wives of enemies of the people and the same applied to childrenPage 241 Vladimir Bukovsky In our camps you were expected not only to be a slave laborer but to sing and smile while you worked as well They didn t just want to oppress us they wanted us to thank them for it This is a book that is horrific in scope as it details the history of the Gulag in the Soviet Union from its beginnings under LeninThe author who writes with great elouence takes us through the various stages of what occurred The Gulag itself was a vast slave labour system that had two basic purposes to incarcerate anyone who was perceived as a threat to the system and to use the slave labourers the prisoners to industrialize and modernize the Soviet Union to build roads and railroads work in mines chop down trees for lumber in other words to exploit the almost endless resources of the countryMs Applebaum takes us through the entire seuence of events the arrest interrogation imprisonment transport to a camp and the camp itself Millions passed through this system some than onceWhen examined individually these steps could be compared to imprisonment in other countries for instance the food is atrocious But it is the vast scale of the Gulag that sets it apart not only in terms of human dignity but as a crime against there own citizens One aspect that is beyond the compare is the transport to the labour camps Many would die during this long journey to the outer reaches of the Soviet Union where they could be locked in cattle cars or the bottom of ships and given little food and clothing Many of the prisons were in the far north where the prisoners were forced to work long hours in the cold with inadeuate clothing and small rations even in the summer they were decimated by hordes of mosuitoes Of interest is that the camps were controlled by the Russian mob which has a long history as they started in the days of the Czar These real criminals held brutal sway over the political prisoners The number and types of prisoners were vast political prisoners exiles as in a national group relocated for ethnic cleansing consisting over the years of Poles Lithuanians Chechens religious people kulaks One is never uite sure of the distinction between an exile and prisoners in remote locations neither due to geography had freedom of movement Maybe prisoners had an advantage because they were fed usually with a bowl of watery soupPage 421 in 1939 With no warning the NKVD had plucked these newcomers Poles Ukrainians Belorussians and Moldavians out of their bourgeois or peasant worlds after the Soviet invasion of multiethnic eastern Poland Bessarabia and the Baltic States and dumped them in large numbers into the Gulag and exile villagesWhat is most sad and atrocious is the treatment of the children which I dare say was even worse than the way women were treated They were at the bottom of the ladder in a society where work was rewarded with food Page 333 Decades of propaganda of posters draped across orphanage walls thanking Stalin for our happy childhood failed to convince the Soviet people that the children of the camps the children of the streets and the children of the orphanages had ever become anything but full fledged members of the Soviet Union s large and all embracing criminal classMs Appleton humanizes all with emotional uotes from several people including Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Varlam Shalamov The author discusses how the Gulag changed after Stalin For instance during the Brezhnev era Joseph Brodsky a poet was arrested and imprisoned on charges of parasitism This book furthered my understanding of the Soviet Union and its successor Russia This is not a book of numbers It is intense and extremely well written We are provided not just with a history of the Gulag but of the entire country Highly recommended for any who are interested in this important historical era As the author mentions it gives us another view of the Cold War and why there was a Cold WarPage 515 Olga Adamo Sliozberg arrested in 1936 released in 1956 There was no one home and finally I was able to weep freelyTo weep for my husband who perished in the cellars of the Lubyanka when he was thirty seven years old at the height of his powers and talent for my children who grew up orphans stigmatized as the children of enemies of the people for my parents who died of grief for Nikolai who was tortured in the camps and for all of my friends who never lived to be rehabilitated but lie beneath the frozen earth of Kolyma


10 thoughts on “Gulag a history

  1. says:

    I read history books because of my undying belief that as a human being I am responsible for anything that humans do If murder happens it is because I have it in me as well If kindness happens it is because I am capable of kindness This belief does not put me or humanity at the center of anything I think anthropocentrism is one of the worst ways of explaining our existence but rather connects me to every other human being that has ever l

  2. says:

    I have been reading some memoirs about the Soviet Gulags and I discovered that I didn't have enough knowledge of

  3. says:

    Page 102 my book from Stalin and Beria “an enemy of the people is not only one who commits sabotage but one who doubts the rightness of the Party line” women were arrested as “wives of enemies of the people

  4. says:

    A third to a fourth remains when I write this I have 8 hours left of 27 hours and 45 minutes I am chugging along but I'll tell you Gulag A History is an exceptionally hard read The topic is dark and I am usually fine with difficult subjects but this proves to be harder than I thought The book is VERY thorough C

  5. says:

    Jesus Christ With the possible exception of a few books on the Holocaust this is the single most painful work of non fiction I've ever encountered The portrait of the Soviet work camp system that Applebaum develops examines in painfully minute detail every single aspect of life in and around the Gulag system from the highest levels of Soviet

  6. says:

    Read 60% of this then my interest precipitously flagged Found it redundant because I’d read most of Gulag Archipelago by Solzhenitsyn If you’ve read Solzhenitsyn no need to read Anne Applebaum

  7. says:

    This is a fantastic book It is a must read for anyone who has any illusions about communism It sucks It is evil It belongs in the dustbin of

  8. says:

    A 5 star read without a doubt This book impacted me on so many levels I was absorbed and utterly fascinated with every word I read My family is from Russia I am a first gen American and many of the events and situations which occurred in this book related to my family history It's impact was tremendous as I learned so much of what had happened and what it must have been like for my family living and eventually escaping during S

  9. says:

    I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the era country politics WWII or even just the Gulag itself The vastness of the Gulag is astounding From small camps to giant and from city prisons to tents in Siberia and all sizes in between The variety of work that was reuired was also uite extensive from manufacturing to logging to mining to channel building With the uality of life that prisoners had t

  10. says:

    Among the best accounts of Stalin's system of concentration and labor camps that I know of She describes not only the organization operations of the camps as well as life within them but she also explains the role of slave labor in the development of the Soviet economy and in war production Very well written and entirely engaging