Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin

3.4 65
by Timothy Snyder
     
 

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A prize-winning historian recasts the history of modern Europe around its central catastrophe: the fourteen million people killed by totalitarian regimes in the lands between Hitler and StalinSee more details below

Overview


A prize-winning historian recasts the history of modern Europe around its central catastrophe: the fourteen million people killed by totalitarian regimes in the lands between Hitler and Stalin

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Fareed Zakaria GPS, Book of the Week
“If you want to understand the real history of what is going on between Ukraine and Russia and the West, you have to read this harrowing history. Between 1943 and 1945, 14 million people died in Eastern Europe, killed by Stalin or Hitler. Snyder explains why and how this part of the world became the 20th century’s hell hole.”

New York Times Book Review
“Timothy Snyder…compels us to look squarely at the full range of destruction committed first by Stalin’s regime and then by Hitler’s Reich. Each fashioned a terrifying orgy of deliberate mass killing.... Snyder punctuates his comprehensive and eloquent account with brief glimpses of individual victims, perpetrators and witnesses.”

The New Republic, Editors’ Picks: Best Books of 2010
“Between 1933 and 1945, 14 million people were murdered in Eastern Europe. Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin catalogues how, where, and why these millions died. The cumulative effect makes you reconsider every aspect of modern Europe and World War II. Along the way, Snyder achieves something more vital: he wrests back some human dignity for those who died, without treating them solely as victims.”
 
Washington Post
“Snyder’s research is careful and thorough, his narrative powerful.... By including Soviet with German mass atrocities in his purview, Timothy Snyder begins the necessary but as yet still taboo examination of the full depravity of total war as it was practiced in the 20th century, before the advent of nuclear weapons foreclosed it.”
 
The Economist, Books of the Year
“How Stalin and Hitler enabled each other’s crimes and killed 14m people between the Baltic and the Black Sea. A lifetime’s work by a Yale University historian who deserves to be read and reread.”

The Financial Times
“[A] superb and harrowing history.... Snyder presents material that is undeniably fresh – what’s more, it comes from sources in languages with which very few western academics are familiar. The success of Bloodlands really lies in its effective presentation of cold, hard scholarship, which is in abundance.”
 
Ian Thomson, Telegraph (UK)
“In this scrupulously researched history.... Snyder does not argue for a supposed moral equivalence between Hitler’s extermination of the Jews and the earlier Stalinist extermination of the kulaks. On the contrary, the industrial exploitation of corpses and their ashes was a uniquely Hitlerian atrocity—a unique instance of human infamy. Nevertheless, this is the first book in English to explore both German and Soviet mass killings together. As a history of political mass murder, Bloodlands serves to illuminate the political sickness that reduced 14 million people to the status of non-persons.”

Samuel Moyn, The Nation
“Snyder is perhaps the most talented younger historian of modern Europe working today. Astonishingly prolific, he grounds his work in authoritative mastery of the facts, mining tomes of information in multiple languages and brilliantly synthesizing his findings. At the very least, Bloodlands is valuable for its astounding narrative integration of a gruesome era of European history.... A preternaturally gifted prose stylist, [Snyder] strives for a moral urgency appropriate to his depressing topics, and he rarely succumbs to bathos.... [B]y any measure Bloodlands is a remarkable, even triumphant accomplishment.”
 
Istvan Deak, The New Republic
“[A] genuinely shattering report on the ideology, the political strategy, and the daily horror of Soviet and Nazi rule in the region that Timothy Snyder calls the bloodlands.... Timothy Snyder did archival research in English, German, Yiddish, Czech, Slovak, Polish, Belorussian, Ukrainian, Russian, and French. His learning is extraordinary. His vivid imagination leads him to see combinations, similarities, and general trends where others would see only chaos and confusion.... This is an important book. I have never seen a book like it.”
 
The Economist
“[G]ripping and comprehensive.... 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…. Even those who pride themselves on knowing their history will find themselves repeatedly brought up short by his insights, contrasts and comparisons.... Mr. Snyder’s scrupulous and nuanced book steers clear of the sterile, sloganising exchanges about whether Stalin was as bad as Hitler, or whether Soviet mass murder in Ukraine or elsewhere is a moral equivalent of the Nazis’ extermination of the Jews. What it does do, admirably, is to explain and record. Both totalitarian empires turned human beings into statistics, and their deaths into a necessary step towards a better future. Mr. Snyder’s book explains, with sympathy, fairness and insight, how that happened, and to whom.”
 
Anne Applebaum, New York Review of Books
“[A] brave and original history of mass killing in the twentieth century.... Snyder’s original contribution is to treat all of these episodes—the Ukrainian famine, the Holocaust, Stalin’s mass executions, the planned starvation of Soviet POWs, postwar ethnic cleansing—as different facets of the same phenomenon. Instead of studying Nazi atrocities or Soviet atrocities separately, as many others have done, he looks at them together. Yet Snyder does not exactly compare the two systems either. His intention, rather, is to show that the two systems committed the same kinds of crimes at the same times and in the same places, that they aided and abetted one another, and above all that their interaction with one another led to more mass killing than either might have carried out alone.”

Wall Street Journal
"Bloodlands does what every truly important book should: It makes us see the world differently.”

Richard Rhodes
Snyder's research is careful and thorough, his narrative powerful, if inevitably restrained. His interpretation of the events he describes is less confident, however. He is clear that the influence of "modernity," as some have theorized, is hardly an adequate explanation for the Holocaust. But in attributing the Nazi shift from shooting to gassing to the gas chamber's supposedly greater "efficiency," he overlooks the very evidence he cites.
—The Washington Post
Kirkus Reviews

A chillingly systematic study of the mass murder mutually perpetrated by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

From 1933 to 1945, 14 million people were murdered between the two regimes, as Stalin and Hitler consolidated power, jointly occupied Poland and waged war against each other. The region of mass slaughter was largely contained between the two, from central Poland to western Russia and including Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states—a region Snyder (History/Yale Univ.;The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Duke, 2008, etc.) terms the "bloodlands." The author asserts that the fuzzy understanding of the death camps has skewed the truth about the mass killing, only hinting at their terrifying extent. "The horror of the twentieth century is thought to be located in the camps," he writes. "But the concentration camps are not where most of the victims of National Socialism and Stalinism died." Half of the killings within this period were caused by starvation, as a result of Stalin's starvation policy of the early '30s (a five-year plan of "industrial development at the price of popular misery") and Hitler's deliberate starvation of Soviet prisoners of war. Snyder traces how Stalin's focus on collectivization and famine "had unwittingly performed much of the ideological work that helped Hitler come to power." Stalin had already been secretly practicing mass murder on the Polish population during the Great Terror, well before the "large open pogrom" of Kristallnacht. Hitler recognized their joint "common desire to get rid of the old equilibrium" and neatly divide and destroy Poland at the Molotov-Ribbentrop line. His Hunger Plan was followed by massive depopulation in the forms of deportation, shooting, forced labor and, eventually, the death factories. Snyder devotes ample space to the partisan efforts, the incineration of Warsaw and Stalin's eager postwar ethnic-cleansing sweep. In the concluding chapter, "Humanity," the author urges readers to join him in a clear-eyed reexamination of this comparative history of mass murder and widespread suffering.

A significant work of staggering figures and scholarship.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465031474
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
10/02/2012
Edition description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Pages:
560
Sales rank:
90,518
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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