Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps
This 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. Gulag shows how the massive camp network, which eventually stretched across all of the Soviet Union?s twelve time zones and saw some eighteen million people pass through it, became a country within a country: a separate civilization with its own laws, customs, literature, folklore, slang and morality. Anne Applebaum reveals how life was lived within this shadow country: how prisoners laboured (often mutilating or infecting themselves to avoid work), how they ate, where they slept, how they died, how they survived. She examines their guards and their gaolers, the horrors of transportation in cattle cars, the nature of Soviet arrests and trials, the impact of the Second World War and the escapes, as well as the extraordinary series of rebellions that took place in the 1940s and 1950s. Applebaum concludes by examining why the Gulag has remained relatively obscure in the historical memory of both the former Soviet Union and the West ? and argues that our grasp of twentieth-century history will be incomplete unless we come to terms with it.
Winner of Pulitzer Prize General Non-Fiction Category 2004 and Duff Cooper Memorial Prize 2004.
"An important book. . . . It is fervently to be hoped that people will read Anne Applebaum's excellent, tautly written, and very damning history." --"The New York Times Book Review
""The most authoritative--and comprehensive--account of this Soviet blight ever published by a Western writer." --"Newsweek
""A titanic achievement: learned and moving and profound. . . . No reader will easily forget Applebaum's vivid accounts of the horrible human suffering of the Gulag." --"National Review
""A tragic testimony to how evil ideologically inspired dictatorships can be." -"The New York Times
""Lucid, painstakingly detailed, never sensational, it should have a place on every educated reader's shelves." -"Los Angeles Times
""Magisterial. . . . Certain to remain the definitive account of its subject for years to come. . . . An immense achievement." --"The New Criterion
""An excellent account of the rise and fall of the Soviet labor camps between 1917 and 1986. . . . A splendid book." --"The New York Review of Books
""Should become the standard history of one of the greatest evils of the 20th century." --"The Economist"
"Thorough, engrossing . . . A searing attack on the corruption and the viciousness that seemed to rule the system and a testimonial to the resilience of the Russian people. . . . Her research is impeccable." -"San Francisco Chronicle"
"An affecting book that enables us at last to see the Gulag whole. . . . A valuable and necessary book." -"The Wall Street Journal"
"Ambitious and well-documented . . . Invaluable . . . Applebaum methodically, and unflinchingly, provides a sense of what it was like to enter and inhabit the netherworld of theGulag." -"The New Yorker
"[Applebaum's] writing is powerful and incisive, but it achieves this effect through simplicity and restraint rather than stylistic flourish. . . . [An] admirable and courageous book." -"The Washington Monthly"
"Monumental . . . Applebaum uses her own formidable reporting skills to construct a gripping narrative." -"Newsday"
"Valuable. There is nothing like it in Russian, or in any other language. It deserves to be widely read." -"Financial Times"
"A book whose importance is impossible to exaggerate. . . . Magisterial . . . Applebaum's book, written with such quiet elegance and moral seriousness, is a major contribution to curing the amnesia that curiously seems to have affected broader public perceptions of one of the two or three major enormities of the twentieth century." -"Times Literary Supplement"
"A truly impressive achievement . . . We should all be grateful to [Applebaum]." -"The Sunday Times" (London)
"A chronicle of ghastly human suffering, a history of one of the greatest abuses of power in the story of our species, and a cautionary tale of towering moral significance . . . A magisterial work, written in an unflinching style that moves as much as it shocks, and that glistens with the teeming life and stinking putrefaction of doomed men and rotten ideals." -"The Daily Telegraph "(London)
"No Western author until Anne Applebaum attempted to produce a history of the Gulag based on the combination of eyewitness accounts and archival records. The result is an impressively thorough and detailed study; no aspect of this topic escapes her attention. Well written, accessible...enlightening for both the general reader andspecialists." --"The New York Sun
"For the raw human experience of the camps, read Solzhenitsyn's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" or Irina Ratushinskaya's "Grey is the Color of Hope," For the scope, context, and the terrible extent of the criminality, read this history." --"Chicago Tribune"
Anne Applebaum studied Russian at Yale and International Relations and East European politics at the LSE and St Antony's College, Oxford. She has been a writer and editor at The Economist and deputy editor at the Spectator, as well as Warsaw correspondent for the Boston Globe and the Independent. She is now a columnist and a member of the editorial board of the Washington Post.