Journey into the Whirlwind

Journey into the Whirlwind

Paperback(First Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156027519
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 01/06/2003
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 254,632
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.01(d)

About the Author

By the late 1930s, Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg (1896-1977) had been a loyal and very active member of the Communist Party for many years. Yet like the millions of others who suffered during Stalin's reign of terror, she was arrested (on trumped-up charges of being a Trotskyist terrorist counter-revolutionary) and sentenced to prison. With an amazing eye for detail and profound strength and an indefatigable spirit, Ginzburg recounts the years, days, and minutes she endured in prisons and labor camps, including two years of solitary confinement.

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Journey into the Whirlwind 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mrs. Ginzburg writes of her years in the Soviet gulag system with depth of understanding, humility, and concern for her fellow man. I found Solzhenitsyn's more famous work to be self-serving and boring by comparison. "Journey" is a must-read, not only for history buffs, but for all seekers of truth and lovers of humanity.
VerityJames More than 1 year ago
I recently read this book for an upper division History course at my university. The course was an in depth examination of the Soviet Union, and I can honestly say that this book was one of the most provocative, alarming and eye-opening pieces that I have ever read. Ginzburg is arrested during the Stalinist Purges, and she spends the next two decades in Siberian prison camps. Her eye witness accounts of these terrible institutions is chilling, and her narrative is one of stark honesty paired with sharp observation skills. As a history student herself, Ginzburg provides many insights that a normal prisoner might not have had to offer. The frank examination of not only the events she suffered but the events occurring at large are invaluable. That being said, the book is more effective if you have some working knowledge of Soviet Russia. As a story it is riveting, but as a social history this memoir is absolutely priceless. With personal touches and a wide historical lens, Ginzburg puts a face to some of most terrible conditions a human can be subjected to. It might be readily apparent, but this story is not a happy one. It deals with destruction of families, the disillusionment that comes from being imprisoned and the straight out murder of normal people imprisoned for what seems to be ridiculous crimes. The story is also one of the indomitable human spirit, however, and of survival in the darkest of days. Well, well worth a read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
These days it is rare to find writing that forces you to sit down and think - what brilliance; sit down, take a deep breath and visualize being in the place where the author suffered; pondering what you would have said or done in her place. You shake your head and say: Is This Possible... A few have written and passed on the character of a survivor - like Wiesel's Night or a WWI trench soldier. Ginzburg gave us a gift of hope and knowledge about the reality of the Stalin regime. I was born in Georgia, Stalin's birthplace. Until now, to me, the truth about that time was in some ways unclear. My highest praises for opening my eyes.
wandering_star on LibraryThing 1 days ago
Eugenia Ginzburg was an academic who was caught up in Stalin's purges. This book is her memoir of the time of her accusation, trial and first few years in prison, at first near to Moscow (and in solitary confinement) and then by prison train to a labour camp in the Russian Far East. What happens to her is horrific - even more so because as I was reading this book, I somehow simultaneously felt incomprehension and recognition. Incomprehension that people could treat other people in this way - it wasn't just a brutal system, it was made up of a long chain of personal encounters, with an accuser, an interrogator, a prison guard. And recognition because the stories were so familiar: this is the first book I have read about Stalin's purges but I have read a lot about the Cultural Revolution, and many elements of the story are the same; and other elements are recognisable from films, or books about other periods of history. The description of her accusation and trial really made me think that Kafka was prescient - or perhaps not, perhaps even in Henry VIII's time the same exchanges were taking place between purging apparatchiks and their randomly chosen victims.It is remarkable that Eugenia Ginzburg stayed sane through her experiences, never mind finding enough detachment to write this book, which is never self-pitying and manages to find the irony in the most desperate situations. For example, one thread is the difficult relationships in prison between the committed Communists such as Ginzburg and her contemporaries, and the earlier rounds of political prisoners, the Mensheviks and so on. At one point, one of the women in the cell - a Social Revolutionary - runs out of cigarettes and Ginzburg offers her one. She taps out a message to the regional committee secretary, incarcerated in the next cell:"There's a woman Communist here who has offered me cigarettes. Should I accept?" Mukhina inquired whether the Communist belonged to the opposition. Derkovskaya asked me, passed on my reply - and Mukhina tapped categorically: "No". The cigarettes lay on the table between us. During the night I heard Derkovskaya sighing deeply. Though thin as a rake, she would much sooner have done without bread.As you can see from this story, Ginzburg is good at highlighting the details which throw light on the bigger picture. In the prison train, for instance, the women are given one small cup of dirty water per day, and friendships could be broken if someone jogged another's cup, spilling a few drops. When one woman's cup got broken because the train stopped abruptly, the guard refused to give her a new one. Another example is that the Communist women turn to the earlier generations of political prisoners to explain the system and what is coming next - but sometimes their experiences are out-of-date. The same Derkovskaya from the cigarette story tells Ginzburg that she will be allowed to see her children before she is deported - but that does not happen. Derkovskaya had spoken out of her experience of Tsarist prisons. There was no room nowadays for 'rotten liberalism' or 'pseudo-humanitarianism'.
Renzomalo on LibraryThing 1 days ago
A somewhat difficult read but a fascinating glimpse into Stalin¿s gulags and prisons and an expose¿ on real torture. No culturally appropriate meals here¿ Or Bibles, or prayer rugs, or much of anything except misery. It is then astounding to learn that those incarcerated by Stalin, whose lives he ruined and families he had killed, cried with the news of his passing in February of 1953.
Asper More than 1 year ago
Eugenia Ginzburg writes with acute perception about her fellow women prisoners in the Russian Gulag prison system of the 30's and 40's. They were mostly loyal party members and officials that were caught up in the paranoid Stalin purges of that time. Yet many remained loyal to the party and the system that put them there believing that Stalin, who was such a charismatic figure, was being duped by others. One wonders how so many could be led like sheep. How could so many Germans be duped by Hitler and the Nazis? So many Italians by Mussolini? The answer lies in our own condition. How can so many Americans be duped by our current plutocracy where big money and giant corporations have control of congress through huge monetary contributions.
LordVader More than 1 year ago
I look forward to the re-release of the next volume. A fascinating insight into the Stalinist terror era and how it worked, plus amazement that Ginzburg stayed a communist through it all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Read this book! It is a poem about the things wich stay with us when 'everything is lost'.