Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine

Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine

by Anne Applebaum


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Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum


From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag and the National Book Award finalist Iron Curtain, a revelatory history of one of Stalin's greatest crimes—the consequences of which still resonate today

In 1929 Stalin launched his policy of agricultural collectivization—in effect a second Russian revolution—which forced millions of peasants off their land and onto collective farms. The result was a catastrophic famine, the most lethal in European history. At least five million people died between 1931 and 1933 in the USSR. But instead of sending relief the Soviet state made use of the catastrophe to rid itself of a political problem. In Red Famine, Anne Applebaum argues that more than three million of those dead were Ukrainians who perished not because they were accidental victims of a bad policy but because the state deliberately set out to kill them. Devastating and definitive, Red Famine captures the horror of ordinary people struggling to survive extraordinary evil. 

Today, Russia, the successor to the Soviet Union, has placed Ukrainian independence in its sights once more. Applebaum’s compulsively readable narrative recalls one of the worst crimes of the twentieth century, and shows how it may foreshadow a new threat to the political order in the twenty-first.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804170888
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 96,285
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

ANNE APPLEBAUM is a columnist for The Washington Post, a Professor of Practice at the London School of Economics, and a contributor to The New York Review of Books. Her previous books include Iron Curtain, winner of the Cundill Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award, and Gulag, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction and a finalist for three other major prizes. She lives in Poland with her husband, Radek Sikorski, a Polish politician, and their two children.



Date of Birth:

July 25, 1964

Place of Birth:

Washington, D.C.


B.A., Yale University, 1986; M.Sc., London School of Economics, 1987; St. Antony¿s College, Oxford

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Excerpted from "Red Famine"
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Copyright © 2018 Anne Applebaum.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

List of Maps xiii

Acknowledgemetns xxiii

A Note on Transliteration xxiv

Preface xxv

Introduction: The Ukrainian Question 1

1 The Ukrainian Revolution, 1917 11

2 Rebellion, 1919 40

3 Famine and Truce, The 1920s 56

4 The Double Crisis, 1927-9 81

5 Collectivization: Revolution in the Countryside, 1930 112

6 Rebellion, 1930 139

7 Collectivization Fails, 1931-2 159

8 Famine Decisions, 1932: Requisitions, Blacklist and Borders 186

9 Famine Decisions, 1932: The End of Ukrainization 205

10 Famine Decisions, 1932: The Searches and the Searchers 222

11 Starvation: Spring and Summer, 1933 241

12 Survival: Spring and Summer, 1933 262

13 Aftermath 278

14 The Cover-Up 296

15 The Holodomor in History and Memory 320

Epilogue: The Ukrainian Question Reconsidered 346

Notes 363

Selected Bibliography 421

Image Credits 435

Index 437

Reading Group Guide

1. What is the most surprising revelation in Red Famine? Why were you surprised?

2. Talk about Stalin’s policy of agricultural collectivization and how it contributed to the Ukrainian famine.

3. Beyond the famine, what other tactics did Stalin use to punish Ukrainian national identity and independence?

4. How is the 1931-1933 Ukrainian famine similar to other famines throughout history? What makes it unique?

5. What detail of the conditions in Ukraine during the Holodomor was most vivid to you as you read? Why did it stick with you?

6. How did the author make use of oral histories in the book? What did they add to your reading experience?

7. Did Red Famine challenge anything you previously believed about Stalin or the USSR?

8. How is Red Famine similar to other history books that you’ve read? What makes it different?

9. Which aspects of the political situation outlined in Red Famine feel most relevant today? Why?

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