Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin Paperback – Oct 2 2012
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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.”
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 atrocitya 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.”
[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 episodesthe Ukrainian famine, the Holocaust, Stalin’s mass executions, the planned starvation of Soviet POWs, postwar ethnic cleansingas 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.”
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Top Customer Reviews
The Bloodlands extends from central Poland to western Russia, through Ukraine, Belarus, and the Baltic States. Ukraine was the epicenter where the most lives were lost in WW2. Snyder points out that while Hitler's record was atrocious in war, Stalin's was in peacetime and collectively their actions are near unimaginable.
Snyder begins by examining the Ukrainian famine that began in 1933. It was prompted by a failed five year plan and the effects of collectivization. Stalin, loathe to take responsibility, blamed the peasants and "agitators". The author takes a logical view on the lives lost based on the available information and arrives at 3.3 million. This has always been a contentious issue with Ukrainians but Snyder states his assumptions objectively and this adds to his credibility.
Snyder then covers the deportation of Kulaks, the decimation of the Poles from two sides, Jewish persecution and The Holocaust, and economic and ethnic intentions and actions in the Bloodlands. In fact, if there is an explanation for the killing, Snyder roots it in agriculture. Stalin wanted to collectivize farmers; Hitler wanted to eliminate them so Germans could colonize the land.
The book's scope is overwhelming especially to those new to this period.Read more ›
While reading about thousands and millions of people "relocated," starved, tortured, murdered, and worse (yes, worse), we need to keep reminding ourselves that those numbers represent once-living men, women, and children who had every right and reason to live. One page after another divulges new tragedies, yet thankfully Snyder never lets go of the thread of humanity that cries out from all the brutality and mass killing.
We think that history gives us the tools to avoid repeating its folly, but the ever-present danger is that we do not learn. Snyder closes his comprehensive and compelling narrative by speaking about the people of the Bloodlands: "It is for us as scholars to seek these numbers and to put them into perspective. It is for us as humanists to turn the numbers back into people. If we cannot do that, then Hitler and Stalin have shaped not only our world, but our humanity." p. 408
Most recent customer reviews
This was a required reading for my University course on WWII in Eastern Europe. Although the thickness of the book is a little daunting, it is well worth the read. Read morePublished 12 months ago by joe
A heart wrenching look at the suffering of the Baltic states. A strong stomach needed for this one.Published 14 months ago by Matthew
In reviewing the waves of atrocities committed in the lands between Russia and Germany, Snyder is determined to get the facts confirmed and in proportion. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Brian Griffith
Grim horrors of socialism are made fascinating by bright writing and brilliant research. The unremitting slaughter's depiction puts paid to lies about Russia's "heroic"... Read morePublished 19 months ago by B. Buchanan
Although I'm only about 1/4 way into the book, it's a fascinating insight into Stalinism. Anyone who is interested in history and did not know a great deal about the... Read morePublished 21 months ago by plif55
Snyder has done everyone a favour by tackling this subject and attempting to humanize what was by definition and intent a dehumanizing series of events. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Rodge
This book is not for the feint of heart. It is gritty and bloody and details some of the worst atrocities in European history. Read morePublished on Nov. 29 2013 by Nate
The promise of this book was an impartial, objective review of what actually happened in those terrible years. Read morePublished on Oct. 16 2013 by Dariusz Piatkowski
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