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Gulag : a history /
Anne Applebaum.
edition
1st edition
imprint
New York : Doubleday, 2003.
description
xl, 677 pages : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 24 cm
ISBN
0767900561 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Doubleday, 2003.
isbn
0767900561 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4823783
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Galaxy British Book Awards, GBR, 2004 : Nominated
Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, USA, 2003 : Nominated
Mark Lynton History Prize, USA, 2004 : Nominated
National Book Awards, USA, 2003 : Nominated
National Book Critics Circle Awards, USA, 2003 : Nominated
Pulitzer Prize, USA, 2004 : Won
Excerpts
Excerpt from Book
Chapter 1 BOLSHEVIK BEGINNINGS But your spine has been smashed, My beautiful, pitiful era, And with an inane smile You look back, cruel and weak, Like an animal past its prime, At the prints of your own paws. --Osip Mandelstam, "Vek"1 One of my goals is to destroy the myth that the cruelest era of repression began in 1936-37. I think that in future, statistics will show that the wave of arrests, sentences and exile had already begun at the beginning of 1918, even before the official declaration, that autumn, of the "Red Terror." From that moment, the wave simply grew larger and larger, until the death of Stalin . . . --Dmitrii Likhachev, Vospominaniya2 In the year 1917, two waves of revolution rolled across Russia, sweeping Imperial Russian society aside as if it were destroying so many houses of cards. After Czar Nicholas II abdicated in February, events proved extremely difficult for anyone to halt or control. Alexander Kerensky, the leader of the first post-revolutionary Provisional Government, later wrote that, in the void following the collapse of the old regime, "all existing political and tactical programs, however bold and well conceived, appeared hanging aimlessly and uselessly in space."3 But although the Provisional Government was weak, although popular dissatisfaction was widespread, although anger at the carnage caused by the First World War ran high, few expected power to fall into the hands of the Bolsheviks, one of several radical socialist parties agitating for even more rapid change. Abroad, the Bolsheviks were scarcely known. One apocryphal tale illustrates foreign attitudes very well: in 1917, so the story goes, a bureaucrat rushed into the office of the Austrian Foreign Minister, shouting, "Your Excellency, there has been a revolution in Russia!" The minister snorted. "Who could make a revolution in Russia? Surely not harmless Herr Trotsky, down at the Cafe Central?" If the nature of the Bolsheviks was mysterious, their leader, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov--the man the world would come to know by his revolutionary pseudonym, "Lenin"--was even more so. During his many years as an emigre revolutionary, Lenin had been recognized for his brilliance, but also disliked for his intemperance and his factionalism. He picked frequent fights with other socialist leaders, and had a penchant for turning minor disagreements over seemingly irrelevant matters of dogma into major arguments.4 In the first months following the February Revolution, Lenin was very far from holding a position of unchallenged authority, even within his own Party. As late as mid-October 1917, a handful of leading Bolsheviks continued to oppose his plan to carry out a coup d'etat against the Provisional Government, arguing that the Party was unprepared to take power, and that it did not yet have popular support. He won the argument, however, and on October 25 the coup took place. Under the influence of Lenin's agitation, a mob sacked the Winter Palace. The Bolsheviks arrested the ministers of the Provisional Government. Within hours, Lenin had become the leader of the country he renamed Soviet Russia. Yet although Lenin had succeeded in taking power, his Bolshevik critics had not been entirely wrong. The Bolsheviks were indeed wildly unprepared. As a result, most of their early decisions, including the creation of the one-party state, were taken to suit the needs of the moment. Their popular support was indeed weak, and almost immediately they began to wage a bloody civil war, simply in order to stay in power. From 1918, when the White Army of the old regime regrouped to fight the new Red Army--led by Lenin's comrade, "Herr Trotsky" from the "Cafe Central"--some of the most brutal fighting ever seen in Europe raged across the
Excerpt from Book
Chapter 1 BOLSHEVIK BEGINNINGS But your spine has been smashed, My beautiful, pitiful era, And with an inane smile You look back, cruel and weak, Like an animal past its prime, At the prints of your own paws. --osip mandelstam, "Vek" One of my goals is to destroy the myth that the cruelest era of repression began in 1936-37. I think that in future, statistics will show that the wave of arrests, sentences and exile had already begun at the beginning of 1918, even before the official declaration, that autumn, of the "Red Terror." From that moment, the wave simply grew larger and larger, until the death of Stalin . . . --dmitrii likhachev, Vospominaniya In the year 1917, two waves of revolution rolled across Russia, sweeping Imperial Russian society aside as if it were destroying so many houses of cards. After Czar Nicholas II abdicated in February, events proved extremely difficult for anyone to halt or control. Alexander Kerensky, the leader of the first post-revolutionary Provisional Government, later wrote that, in the void following the collapse of the old regime, "all existing political and tactical programs, however bold and well conceived, appeared hanging aimlessly and uselessly in space." But although the Provisional Government was weak, although popular dissatisfaction was widespread, although anger at the carnage caused by the First World War ran high, few expected power to fall into the hands of the Bolsheviks, one of several radical socialist parties agitating for even more rapid change. Abroad, the Bolsheviks were scarcely known. One apocryphal tale illustrates foreign attitudes very well: in 1917, so the story goes, a bureaucrat rushed into the office of the Austrian Foreign Minister, shouting, "Your Excellency, there has been a revolution in Russia!" The minister snorted. "Who could make a revolution in Russia? Surely not harmless Herr Trotsky, down at the Cafe Central?" If the nature of the Bolsheviks was mysterious, their leader, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov--the man the world would come to know by his revolutionary pseudonym, "Lenin"--was even more so. During his many years as an emigre revolutionary, Lenin had been recognized for his brilliance, but also disliked for his intemperance and his factionalism. He picked frequent fights with other socialist leaders, and had a penchant for turning minor disagreements over seemingly irrelevant matters of dogma into major arguments. In the first months following the February Revolution, Lenin was very far from holding a position of unchallenged authority, even within his own Party. As late as mid-October 1917, a handful of leading Bolsheviks continued to oppose his plan to carry out a coup d'etat against the Provisional Government, arguing that the Party was unprepared to take power, and that it did not yet have popular support. He won the argument, however, and on October 25 the coup took place. Under the influence of Lenin's agitation, a mob sacked the Winter Palace. The Bolsheviks arrested the ministers of the Provisional Government. Within hours, Lenin had become the leader of the country he renamed Soviet Russia. Yet although Lenin had succeeded in taking power, his Bolshevik critics had not been entirely wrong. The Bolsheviks were indeed wildly unprepared. As a result, most of their early decisions, including the creation of the one-party state, were taken to suit the needs of the moment. Their popular support was indeed weak, and almost immediately they began to wage a bloody civil war, simply in order to stay in power. From 1918, when the White Army of the old regime regrouped to fight the new Red Army--led by Lenin's comrade, "Herr Trotsky" from the "Cafe Central"--some of the most brutal fighting ever seen in Europe raged across the Russian countryside. Nor did all of the violence take place in battlefields.
First Chapter
Chapter 1

BOLSHEVIK BEGINNINGS

But your spine has been smashed,
My beautiful, pitiful era,
And with an inane smile
You look back, cruel and weak,
Like an animal past its prime,
At the prints of your own paws.
--osip mandelstam, "Vek"

One of my goals is to destroy the myth that the cruelest era of repression began in 1936-37. I think that in future, statistics will show that the wave of arrests, sentences and exile had already begun at the beginning of 1918, even before the official declaration, that autumn, of the "Red Terror." From that moment, the wave simply grew larger and larger, until the death of Stalin . . .
--dmitrii likhachev, Vospominaniya

In the year 1917, two waves of revolution rolled across Russia, sweeping Imperial Russian society aside as if it were destroying so many houses of cards. After Czar Nicholas II abdicated in February, events proved extremely difficult for anyone to halt or control. Alexander Kerensky, the leader of the first post-revolutionary Provisional Government, later wrote that, in the void following the collapse of the old regime, "all existing political and tactical programs, however bold and well conceived, appeared hanging aimlessly and uselessly in space."

But although the Provisional Government was weak, although popular dissatisfaction was widespread, although anger at the carnage caused by the First World War ran high, few expected power to fall into the hands of the Bolsheviks, one of several radical socialist parties agitating for even more rapid change. Abroad, the Bolsheviks were scarcely known. One apocryphal tale illustrates foreign attitudes very well: in 1917, so the story goes, a bureaucrat rushed into the office of the Austrian Foreign Minister, shouting, "Your Excellency, there has been a revolution in Russia!" The minister snorted. "Who could make a revolution in Russia? Surely not harmless Herr Trotsky, down at the Cafe Central?"

If the nature of the Bolsheviks was mysterious, their leader, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov--the man the world would come to know by his revolutionary pseudonym, "Lenin"--was even more so. During his many years as an emigre revolutionary, Lenin had been recognized for his brilliance, but also disliked for his intemperance and his factionalism. He picked frequent fights with other socialist leaders, and had a penchant for turning minor disagreements over seemingly irrelevant matters of dogma into major arguments.

In the first months following the February Revolution, Lenin was very far from holding a position of unchallenged authority, even within his own Party. As late as mid-October 1917, a handful of leading Bolsheviks continued to oppose his plan to carry out a coup d'etat against the Provisional Government, arguing that the Party was unprepared to take power, and that it did not yet have popular support. He won the argument, however, and on October 25 the coup took place. Under the influence of Lenin's agitation, a mob sacked the Winter Palace. The Bolsheviks arrested the ministers of the Provisional Government. Within hours, Lenin had become the leader of the country he renamed Soviet Russia.

Yet although Lenin had succeeded in taking power, his Bolshevik critics had not been entirely wrong. The Bolsheviks were indeed wildly unprepared. As a result, most of their early decisions, including the creation of the one-party state, were taken to suit the needs of the moment. Their popular support was indeed weak, and almost immediately they began to wage a bloody civil war, simply in order to stay in power. From 1918, when the White Army of the old regime regrouped to fight the new Red Army--led by Lenin's comrade, "Herr Trotsky" from the "Cafe Central"--some of the most brutal fighting ever seen in Europe raged across the Russian countryside. Nor did all of the violence take place in battlefields. The Bolsheviks went out of their way to quash intellectual and political opposition in any form it took, attacking not only the representatives of the old regime but also other socialists: Mensheviks, Anarchists, Social Revolutionaries. The new Soviet state would not know relative peace until 1921.

Against this background of improvisation and violence, the first Soviet labor camps were born. Like so many other Bolshevik institutions, they were created ad hoc, in a hurry, as an emergency measure in the heat of the civil war. This is not to say the idea had no prior appeal. Three weeks before the October Revolution, Lenin himself was already sketching out an admittedly vague plan to organize "obligatory work duty" for wealthy capitalists. By January 1918, angered by the depth of the anti-Bolshevik resistance, he was even more vehement, writing that he welcomed "the arrest of millionaire-saboteurs traveling in first- and second-class train compartments. I suggest sentencing them to half a year's forced labor in a mine."

Lenin's vision of labor camps as a special form of punishment for a particular sort of bourgeois "enemy" sat well with his other beliefs about crime and criminals. On the one hand, the first Soviet leader felt ambivalent about the jailing and punishment of traditional criminals--thieves, pickpockets, murderers--whom he perceived as potential allies. In his view, the basic cause of "social excess" (meaning crime) was "the exploitation of the masses." The removal of the cause, he believed, "will lead to the withering away of the excess." No special punishments were therefore necessary to deter criminals: in time, the Revolution itself would do away with them. Some of the language in the Bolsheviks' first criminal code would have thus warmed the hearts of the most radical, progressive criminal reformers in the West. Among other things, the code decreed that there was "no such thing as individual guilt," and that punishment "should not be seen as retribution."

On the other hand, Lenin--like the Bolshevik legal theorists who followed in his wake--also reckoned that the creation of the Soviet state would create a new kind of criminal: the "class enemy." A class enemy opposed the Revolution, and worked openly, or more often secretly, to destroy it. The class enemy was harder to identify than an ordinary criminal, and much harder to reform. Unlike an ordinary criminal, a class enemy could never be trusted to cooperate with the Soviet regime, and required harsher punishment than would an ordinary murderer or thief. Thus in May 1918, the first Bolshevik "decree on bribery" declared that: "If the person guilty of taking or offering bribes belongs to the propertied classes and is using the bribe to preserve or acquire privileges, linked to property rights, then he should be sentenced to the harshest and most unpleasant forced labor and all of his property should be confiscated."

From the very earliest days of the new Soviet state, in other words, people were to be sentenced not for what they had done, but for who they were.

Unfortunately, nobody ever provided a clear description of what, exactly, a "class enemy" was supposed to look like. As a result, arrests of all sorts increased dramatically in the wake of the Bolshevik coup. From November 1917, revolutionary tribunals, composed of random "supporters" of the Revolution, began convicting random "enemies" of the Revolution. Prison sentences, forced-labor terms, and even capital punishment were arbitrarily meted out to bankers, to merchants' wives, to "speculators"--meaning anyone engaged in independent economic activity--to former Czarist-era prison warders and to anyone else who seemed suspicious.

The definition of who was and who was not an "enemy" also varied from place to place, sometimes overlapping with the definition of "prisoner of war." Upon occupying a new city, Trotsky's Red Army frequently took bourgeois hostages, who could be shot in case the White Army returned, as it often did along the fluctuating lines of the front. In the interim they could be made to do forced labor, often digging trenches and building barricades. The distinction between political prisoners and common criminals was equally arbitrary. The uneducated members of the temporary commissions and revolutionary tribunals might, for example, suddenly decide that a man caught riding a tram without a ticket had offended society, and sentence him for political crimes. In the end, many such decisions were left up to the policeman or soldiers doing the arresting. Feliks Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Cheka--Lenin's secret police, the forerunner of the KGB--personally kept a little black notebook in which he scribbled down the names and addresses of random "enemies" he came across while doing his job.

These distinctions would remain vague right up until the collapse of the Soviet Union itself, eighty years later. Nevertheless, the existence of two categories of prisoner--"political" and "criminal"--had a profound effect on the formation of the Soviet penal system. During the first decade of Bolshevik rule, Soviet penitentiaries even split into two categories, one for each type of prisoner. The split arose spontaneously, as a reaction to the chaos of the existing prison system. In the very early days of the Revolution, all prisoners were incarcerated under the jurisdiction of the "traditional" judicial ministries, first the Commissariat of Justice, later the Commissariat of the Interior, and placed in the "ordinary" prison system. That is, they were thrown into the remnants of the Czarist system, usually into the dirty, gloomy stone prisons which occupied a central position in every major town. During the revolutionary years of 1917 to 1920, these institutions were in total disarray. Mobs had stormed the jails, self-appointed commissars had sacked the guards, prisoners had received wide-ranging amnesties or had simply walked away.

By the time the Bolsheviks took charge, the few prisons that remained in operation were overcrowded and inadequate. Only weeks after the Revolution, Lenin himself demanded "extreme measures for the immediate improvement of food supplies to the Petrograd prisons." A few months later, a member of the Moscow Cheka visited the city's Taganskaya prison and reported "terrible cold and filth," as well as typhus and hunger. Most of the prisoners could not carry out their forced-labor sentences because they had no clothes. A newspaper report claimed that Butyrka prison in Moscow, designed to hold 1,000 prisoners, already contained 2,500. Another newspaper complained that the Red Guards "unsystematically arrest hundreds of people every day, and then don't know what to do with them."

Overcrowding led to "creative" solutions. Lacking anything better, the new authorities incarcerated prisoners in basements, attics, empty palaces, and old churches. One survivor later remembered being placed in the cellar of a deserted house, in a single room with fifty people, no furniture, and little food: those who did not get packages from their families simply starved. In December 1917, a Cheka commission discussed the fate of fifty-six assorted prisoners--"thieves, drunks and various 'politicals' "--who were being kept in the basement of the Smolny Institute, Lenin's headquarters in Petrograd.

Not everyone suffered from the chaotic conditions. Robert Bruce Lockhart, a British diplomat accused of spying (accurately, as it happened), was imprisoned in 1918 in a room in the Kremlin. He occupied himself playing Patience, and reading Thucydides and Carlyle. From time to time, a former imperial servant brought him hot tea and newspapers.

But even in the remaining traditional jails, prison regimes were erratic, and prison wardens were inexperienced. A prisoner in the northern Russian city of Vyborg discovered that, in the topsy-turvy post-revolutionary world, his former chauffeur had become a prison guard. The man was delighted to help his former master move to a better, drier cell, and eventually to escape. One White Army colonel also recalled that in the Petrograd prison in December 1917 prisoners came and left at will, while homeless people slept in the cells at night. Looking back on this era, one Soviet official remembered that "the only people who didn't escape were those who were too lazy."

The disarray forced the Cheka to come up with new solutions: the Bolsheviks could hardly allow their "real" enemies to enter the ordinary prison system. Chaotic jails and lazy guards might be suitable for pickpockets and juvenile delinquents, but for the saboteurs, parasites, speculators, White Army officers, priests, bourgeois capitalists, and others who loomed so large in the Bolshevik imagination, more creative solutions were needed.

A solution was found as early as June 4, 1918, Trotsky called for a group of unruly Czech war prisoners to be pacified, disarmed, and placed in a kontslager: a concentration camp. Twelve days later, in a memorandum addressed to the Soviet government Trotsky again spoke of concentration camps, outdoor prisons in which "the city and village bourgeoisie . . . shall be mobilized and organized into rear-service battalions to do menial work (cleaning barracks, camps, streets, digging trenches, etc.). Those refusing will be fined, and held under arrest until the fine is paid."

In August, Lenin made use of the term as well. In a telegram to the commissars of Penza, site of an anti-Bolshevik uprising, he called for "mass terror against the kulaks [rich peasants], priests and White Guards" and for the "unreliable" to be "locked up in a concentration camp outside town." The facilities were already in place. During the summer of 1918--in the wake of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty which ended Russia's participation in the First World War--the regime freed two million war prisoners. The empty camps were immediately turned over to the Cheka.

At the time, the Cheka must have seemed the ideal body to take over the task of incarcerating "enemies" in "special" camps. A completely new organization, the Cheka was designed to be the "sword and shield" of the Communist Party, and had no allegiance to the official Soviet government or any of its departments. It had no traditions of legality, no obligation to obey the rule of law, no need to consult with the police or the courts or the Commissar of Justice. Its very name spoke of its special status: the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage--or, using the Russian abbreviation for "Extraordinary Commission"--the Ch-K, or Cheka. It was "extraordinary" precisely because it existed outside of "ordinary" legality.

Almost as soon as it was created, the Cheka was given an extraordinary task to carry out. On September 5, 1918, Dzerzhinsky was directed to implement Lenin's policy of Red Terror. Launched in the wake of an assassination attempt on Lenin's life, this wave of terror--arrests, imprisonments, murders--more organized than the random terror of the previous months, was in fact an important component of the civil war, directed against those suspected of working to destroy the Revolution on the "home front." It was bloody, it was merciless, and it was cruel--as its perpetrators wanted it to be. Krasnaya Gazeta, the organ of the Red Army, described it: "Without mercy, without sparing, we will kill our enemies in scores of hundreds. Let them be thousands, let them drown themselves in their own blood. For the blood of Lenin . . . let there be floods of blood of the bourgeoisie--more blood, as much as possible . . ."

The Red Terror was crucial to Lenin's struggle for power. Concentration camps, the so-called "special camps," were crucial to the Red Terror. They were mentioned in the very first decree on Red Terror, which called not only for the arrest and incarceration of "important representatives of the bourgeoisie, landowners, industrialists, merchants, counter-revolutionary priests, anti-Soviet officers" but also for their "isolation in concentration camps." Although there are no reliable figures for numbers of prisoners, by the end of 1919 there were twenty-one registered camps in Russia. At the end of 1920 there were 107, five times as many.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2003-02-10:
Nearly 30 million prisoners passed through the Soviet Union's labor camps in their more than 60 years of operation. This remarkable volume, the first fully documented history of the gulag, describes how, largely under Stalin's watch, a regulated, centralized system of prison labor-unprecedented in scope-gradually arose out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution. Fueled by waves of capricious arrests, this prison labor came to underpin the Soviet economy. Applebaum, a former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, draws on newly accessible Soviet archives as well as scores of camp memoirs and interviews with survivors to trace the gulag's origins and expansion. By the gulag's peak years in the early 1950s, there were camps in every part of the country, and slave labor was used not only for mining and heavy industries but for producing every kind of consumer product (chairs, lamps, toys, those ubiquitous fur hats) and some of the country's most important science and engineering (Sergei Korolev, the architect of the Soviet space program, began his work in a special prison laboratory). Applebaum details camp life, including strategies for survival; the experiences of women and children in the camps; sexual relationships and marriages between prisoners; and rebellions, strikes and escapes. There is almost too much dark irony to bear in this tragic, gripping account. Applebaum's lucid prose and painstaking consideration of the competing theories about aspects of camp life and policy are always compelling. She includes an appendix in which she discusses the various ways of calculating how many died in the camps, and throughout the book she thoughtfully reflects on why the gulag does not loom as large in the Western imagination as, for instance, the Holocaust. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Library Journal on 2003-03-01:
Subsequent to Solzhenitsyn's landmark Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Applebaun, former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and currently on the editorial staff at the Washington Post, has captured the full brutality and economic engine for the Soviet state that was the Gulag prison system. This book is perfectly timed to follow such recent works as Golfo Alexopoulos's Stalin's Outcasts: Aliens, Citizens, and the Soviet State 1926-1936. With a finely honed writer's skill, Applebaum thoroughly describes in minute detail the system of camps, the prisoners, camp administration, camp life, and Stalin's obsession with slave labor. "GULAG is an acronym, meaning Glavnoe Upravlenie Lagerei, or Main Camp Administration. Over time, the word `Gulag' has also come to signify not only the administration of the concentration camps but also the system of Soviet slave labor itself." Intellectually, Americans and Western Europeans know roughly what happened in the Soviet Union, but the crimes of Stalin do not inspire the same visceral reaction as do the crimes of the Third Reich. This first complete history of the Gulag system not only points out the similarities with the Nazis and their concentration camps but also puts Stalin and his Gulag on the same ghastly level. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/02.]-Harry Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Syst., Iola (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"GULAG is a monumental achievement, a masterpiece of Soviet history, indeed, one of the great historical epics of our time. With intense moral clarity, Anne Applebaum exposes not only the full horror of these slave labor camps -- Russia's legacy of state-sponsored genocide -- but the equally shocking, global amnesia towards the millions who died in them." -Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II "Combining meticulous research with myriad accounts of survivors, Gulag: A History illuminates a shadowed world in which millions perished under unspeakable conditions. Any who question why we fought the Cold War will find an answer." -Henry A. Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State "As the 20th century recedes into history, with all its hideous crimes and high ideals, wars and trials, lies and revelations, we still have an uneasy feeling of some unfulfilled duty left back there, like an unpaid debt or a dead body we did not commit to the ground. This ghost's name is Gulag - and this book, a comprehensive study of a subject most people try to forget, is a first attempt at exorcism." -Vladimir Bukovsky, former Soviet dissident "An important and necessary book." -Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China "A monumental work that will long stand as a memorial of the countless victims of the Gulag, and also to the shame of the many erstwhile Gulag deniers." -Zbigniew Brzezinski, Former National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter "Anne Applebaum's work is very human, very readable, both rich in detail and highly impressive as an overview of the huge and dreadful GULAG phenomenon. The astonishing story comes alive in a new way, deep feeling combining with deep understanding." -Robert Conquest, author of Stalin and The Great Terror "Anne Applebaum's Gulag is the first up-to-date scholarly study of the central terror institution of the Soviet regime. It is distinguished not only by thorough research in the sources, many of them previously unknown, but by its humane treatment of the victims of this utterly inhuman institution." -Richard Pipes, Professor of History Emeritus, Harvard University "Anne Applebaum's Gulag is an important book. Her many years of scrupulous research have provided a wealth of fascinating detail to create a terrifying and unforgettable story." -Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad
"GULAG is a monumental achievement, a masterpiece of Soviet history, indeed, one of the great historical epics of our time. With intense moral clarity, Anne Applebaum exposes not only the full horror of these slave labor camps -- Russia's legacy of state-sponsored genocide -- but the equally shocking, global amnesia towards the millions who died in them." -Iris Chang, author ofThe Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II "Combining meticulous research with myriad accounts of survivors,Gulag: A Historyilluminates a shadowed world in which millions perished under unspeakable conditions. Any who question why we fought the Cold War will find an answer." -Henry A. Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State "As the 20th century recedes into history, with all its hideous crimes and high ideals, wars and trials, lies and revelations, we still have an uneasy feeling of some unfulfilled duty left back there, like an unpaid debt or a dead body we did not commit to the ground. This ghost's name is Gulag - and this book, a comprehensive study of a subject most people try to forget, is a first attempt at exorcism." -Vladimir Bukovsky, former Soviet dissident "An important and necessary book." -Jung Chang, author ofWild Swans: Three Daughters of China "A monumental work that will long stand as a memorial of the countless victims of the Gulag, and also to the shame of the many erstwhile Gulag deniers." -Zbigniew Brzezinski, Former National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter "Anne Applebaum's work is very human, very readable, both rich in detail and highly impressive as an overview of the huge and dreadful GULAG phenomenon. The astonishing story comes alive in a new way, deep feeling combining with deep understanding." -Robert Conquest, author ofStalinandThe Great Terror "Anne Applebaum'sGulagis the first up-to-date scholarly study of the central terror institution of the Soviet regime. It is distinguished not only by thorough research in the sources, many of them previously unknown, but by its humane treatment of the victims of this utterly inhuman institution." -Richard Pipes, Professor of History Emeritus, Harvard University "Anne Applebaum'sGulagis an important book. Her many years of scrupulous research have provided a wealth of fascinating detail to create a terrifying and unforgettable story." -Antony Beevor, author ofStalingrad
"GULAG is a monumental achievement, a masterpiece of Soviet history, indeed, one of the great historical epics of our time. With intense moral clarity, Anne Applebaum exposes not only the full horror of these slave labor camps -- Russia's legacy of state-sponsored genocide -- but the equally shocking, global amnesia towards the millions who died in them." -Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II "Combining meticulous research with myriad accounts of survivors, Gulag: A Historyilluminates a shadowed world in which millions perished under unspeakable conditions. Any who question why we fought the Cold War will find an answer." -Henry A. Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State "As the 20th century recedes into history, with all its hideous crimes and high ideals, wars and trials, lies and revelations, we still have an uneasy feeling of some unfulfilled duty left back there, like an unpaid debt or a dead body we did not commit to the ground. This ghost's name is Gulag - and this book, a comprehensive study of a subject most people try to forget, is a first attempt at exorcism." -Vladimir Bukovsky, former Soviet dissident "An important and necessary book." -Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China "A monumental work that will long stand as a memorial of the countless victims of the Gulag, and also to the shame of the many erstwhile Gulag deniers." -Zbigniew Brzezinski, Former National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter "Anne Applebaum's work is very human, very readable, both rich in detail and highly impressive as an overview of the huge and dreadful GULAG phenomenon. The astonishing story comes alive in a new way, deep feeling combining with deep understanding." -Robert Conquest, author of Stalinand The Great Terror "Anne Applebaum's Gulagis the first up-to-date scholarly study of the central terror institution of the Soviet regime. It is distinguished not only by thorough research in the sources, many of them previously unknown, but by its humane treatment of the victims of this utterly inhuman institution." -Richard Pipes, Professor of History Emeritus, Harvard University "Anne Applebaum's Gulagis an important book. Her many years of scrupulous research have provided a wealth of fascinating detail to create a terrifying and unforgettable story." -Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad
This item was reviewed in:
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Publishers Weekly, February 2003
Booklist, March 2003
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New York Times Book Review, May 2003
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Boston Globe, February 2004
New York Times Book Review, May 2004
Globe & Mail, June 2004
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Summaries
Main Description
The Gulagthe vast array of Soviet concentration campswas a system of repression and punishment whose rationalized evil and institutionalized inhumanity were rivaled only by the Holocaust. The Gulag entered the world's historical consciousness in 1972, with the publication of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's epic oral history of the Soviet camps,The Gulag Archipelago. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, dozens of memoirs and new studies covering aspects of that system have been published in Russia and the West. Using these new resources as well as her own original historical research, Anne Applebaum has now undertaken, for the first time, a fully documented history of the Soviet camp system, from its origins in the Russian Revolution to its collapse in the era of glasnost. It is an epic feat of investigation and moral reckoning that places the Gulag where it belongs: at the center of our understanding of the troubled history of the twentieth century. Anne Applebaum first lays out the chronological history of the camps and the logic behind their creation, enlargement, and maintenance. The Gulag was first put in place in 1918 after the Russian Revolution. In 1929, Stalin personally decided to expand the camp system, both to use forced labor to accelerate Soviet industrialization and to exploit the natural resources of the country's barely habitable far northern regions. By the end of the 1930s, labor camps could be found in all twelve of the Soviet Union's time zones. The system continued to expand throughout the war years, reaching its height only in the early 1950s. From 1929 until the death of Stalin in 1953, some 18 million people passed through this massive system. Of these 18 million, it is estimated that 4.5 million never returned. But the Gulag was not just an economic institution. It also became, over time, a country within a country, almost a separate civilization, with its own laws, customs, literature, folklore, slang, and morality. Topic by topic, Anne Applebaum also examines how life was lived within this shadow country: how prisoners worked, how they ate, where they lived, how they died, how they survived. She examines their guards and their jailers, the horrors of transportation in empty cattle cars, the strange nature of Soviet arrests and trials, the impact of World War II, the relations between different national and religious groups, and the escapes, as well as the extraordinary rebellions that took place in the 1950s. She concludes by examining the disturbing question why the Gulag has remained relatively obscure, in the historical memory of both the former Soviet Union and the West. Gulag: A Historywill immediately be recognized as a landmark work of historical scholarship and an indelible contribution to the complex, ongoing, necessary quest for truth.
Main Description
The Gulagthe vast array of Soviet concentration campswas a system of repression and punishment whose rationalized evil and institutionalized inhumanity were rivaled only by the Holocaust. The Gulag entered the world's historical consciousness in 1972, with the publication of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's epic oral history of the Soviet camps, The Gulag Archipelago. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, dozens of memoirs and new studies covering aspects of that system have been published in Russia and the West. Using these new resources as well as her own original historical research, Anne Applebaum has now undertaken, for the first time, a fully documented history of the Soviet camp system, from its origins in the Russian Revolution to its collapse in the era of glasnost. It is an epic feat of investigation and moral reckoning that places the Gulag where it belongs: at the center of our understanding of the troubled history of the twentieth century. Anne Applebaum first lays out the chronological history of the camps and the logic behind their creation, enlargement, and maintenance. The Gulag was first put in place in 1918 after the Russian Revolution. In 1929, Stalin personally decided to expand the camp system, both to use forced labor to accelerate Soviet industrialization and to exploit the natural resources of the country's barely habitable far northern regions. By the end of the 1930s, labor camps could be found in all twelve of the Soviet Union's time zones. The system continued to expand throughout the war years, reaching its height only in the early 1950s. From 1929 until the death of Stalin in 1953, some 18 million people passed through this massive system. Of these 18 million, it is estimated that 4.5 million never returned. But the Gulag was not just an economic institution. It also became, over time, a country within a country, almost a separate civilization, with its own laws, customs, literature, folklore, slang, and morality. Topic by topic, Anne Applebaum also examines how life was lived within this shadow country: how prisoners worked, how they ate, where they lived, how they died, how they survived. She examines their guards and their jailers, the horrors of transportation in empty cattle cars, the strange nature of Soviet arrests and trials, the impact of World War II, the relations between different national and religious groups, and the escapes, as well as the extraordinary rebellions that took place in the 1950s. She concludes by examining the disturbing question why the Gulag has remained relatively obscure, in the historical memory of both the former Soviet Union and the West. Gulag: A Historywill immediately be recognized as a landmark work of historical scholarship and an indelible contribution to the complex, ongoing, necessary quest for truth.
Main Description
The Gulag--the vast array of Soviet concentration camps--was a system of repression and punishment whose rationalized evil and institutionalized inhumanity were rivaled only by the Holocaust. The Gulag entered the world's historical consciousness in 1972, with the publication of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's epic oral history of the Soviet camps, The Gulag Archipelago. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, dozens of memoirs and new studies covering aspects of that system have been published in Russia and the West. Using these new resources as well as her own original historical research, Anne Applebaum has now undertaken, for the first time, a fully documented history of the Soviet camp system, from its origins in the Russian Revolution to its collapse in the era of glasnost. It is an epic feat of investigation and moral reckoning that places the Gulag where it belongs: at the center of our understanding of the troubled history of the twentieth century. Anne Applebaum first lays out the chronological history of the camps and the logic behind their creation, enlargement, and maintenance. The Gulag was first put in place in 1918 after the Russian Revolution. In 1929, Stalin personally decided to expand the camp system, both to use forced labor to accelerate Soviet industrialization and to exploit the natural resources of the country's barely habitable far northern regions. By the end of the 1930s, labor camps could be found in all twelve of the Soviet Union's time zones. The system continued to expand throughout the war years, reaching its height only in the early 1950s. From 1929 until the death of Stalin in 1953, some 18 million people passed through this massive system. Of these 18 million, it is estimated that 4.5 million never returned. But the Gulag was not just an economic institution. It also became, over time, a country within a country, almost a separate civilization, with its own laws, customs, literature, folklore, slang, and morality. Topic by topic, Anne Applebaum also examines how life was lived within this shadow country: how prisoners worked, how they ate, where they lived, how they died, how they survived. She examines their guards and their jailers, the horrors of transportation in empty cattle cars, the strange nature of Soviet arrests and trials, the impact of World War II, the relations between different national and religious groups, and the escapes, as well as the extraordinary rebellions that took place in the 1950s. She concludes by examining the disturbing question why the Gulag has remained relatively obscure, in the historical memory of both the former Soviet Union and the West. Gulag: A History will immediately be recognized as a landmark work of historical scholarship and an indelible contribution to the complex, ongoing, necessary quest for truth.
Publisher Fact Sheet
The Gulag entered the world's historical consciousness in 1972, with the publication of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's epic oral history of the Soviet camps, The Gulag Archipelago. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, dozens of memoirs and new studies covering aspects of that system have been published in Russia and the West. Using these new resources, as well as her own original historical research, Anne Applebaum has now undertaken, for the first time, a fully documented history of the Soviet camp system, from its origins in the Russian Revolution to its collapse in the era of glasnost.
Unpaid Annotation
The Gulag--the vast array of Soviet concentration camps--was a system of repression and punishment whose rationalized evil and institutionalized inhumanity were rivaled only by the Holocaust.The Gulag entered the world's historical consciousness in 1972, with the publication of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's epic oral history of the Soviet camps, "The Gulag Archipelago. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, dozens of memoirs and new studies covering aspects of that system have been published in Russia and the West. Using these new resources as well as her own original historical research, Anne Applebaum has now undertaken, for the first time, a fully documented history of the Soviet camp system, from its origins in the Russian Revolution to its collapse in the era of glasnost. It is an epic feat of investigation and moral reckoning that places the Gulag where it belongs: at the center of our understanding of the troubled history of the twentieth century.Anne Applebaum first lays out the chronological history of the camps and the logic behind their creation, enlargement, and maintenance. The Gulag was first put in place in 1918 after the Russian Revolution. In 1929, Stalin personally decided to expand the camp system, both to use forced labor to accelerate Soviet industrialization and to exploit the natural resources of the country's barely habitable far northern regions. By the end of the 1930s, labor camps could be found in all twelve of the Soviet Union's time zones. The system continued to expand throughout the war years, reaching its height only in the early 1950s. From 1929 until the death of Stalin in 1953, some 18 million people passed through this massive system. Of these18 million, it is estimated that 4.5 million never returned.But the Gulag was not just an economic institution. It also became, over time, a country within a country, almost a separate civilization, with its own laws, cust
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Origins of the Gulag, 1917-1939
Bolshevik Beginningsp. 3
"The First Camp of the Gulag"p. 18
1929: The Great Turning Pointp. 41
The White Sea Canalp. 58
The Camps Expandp. 73
The Great Terror and Its Aftermathp. 92
Life and Work in the Camps
Arrestp. 121
Prisonp. 146
Transport, Arrival, Selectionp. 159
Life in the Campsp. 183
Work in the Campsp. 216
Punishment and Rewardp. 242
The Guardsp. 256
The Prisonersp. 280
Women and Childrenp. 307
The Dyingp. 334
Strategies of Survivalp. 344
Rebellion and Escapep. 390
The Rise and Fall of The Camp-Industrial Complex, 1940-1986
The War Beginsp. 411
"Strangers"p. 420
Amnesty - and Afterwardp. 445
The Zenith of the Camp-Industrial Complexp. 460
The Death of Stalinp. 476
The Zeks' Revolutionp. 484
Thaw - and Releasep. 506
The Era of the Dissidentsp. 527
The 1980s: Smashing Statuesp. 552
Epilogue: Memoryp. 564
How Many?p. 578
Notesp. 587
Bibliographyp. 637
Glossaryp. 655
Text and Illustration Permissionsp. 659
Indexp. 661
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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