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Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin Paperback – Oct 2 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (Oct. 2 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465031471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465031474
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 3.7 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


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.”

About the Author

Timothy Snyder is Professor of History at Yale University. He is the author of The Reconstruction of Nations, Sketches from a Secret War, and The Red Prince. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Swystun on Jan. 13 2011
Format: Hardcover
This was a difficult read. Not for the writing but for the content. As a Canadian of Ukrainian descent, the Holodomor or murder by hunger, was a topic of incredible sensitivity and division within our community. Of course, Snyder's tremendous contribution to the examination of Stalin's and Hitler's terror covers more than the Ukrainian famine. He ingeniously casts a light on a geographic area he calls the Bloodlands, where the dictators and their regimes murdered 14 million people from 1933 to 1945.

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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Len TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 8 2011
Format: Hardcover
The numbers are mind boggling and they come with despairing frequency in Mr. Snider's book, 'Bloodlands.' Some might blame desperate times, others, dangerous ideologies and still others, ruthless dictators. The strength of 'Bloodlands' is that Mr. Snider lets nobody off the hook. The starvation of Ukranian farmers caused by ridiculous farm quotas was not result of the actions of one man. Others had to enforce the quota. Produce had to be taken from the starving. Those who enacted these policies knew what they were doing. Likewise, Nazis death camps were staffed by otherwise ordinary citizens, men and women like you and me who must have been convinced of either the righteousness of their heinous acts or at least their inevitability. Mr. Snider tells us that it's easy to relate to the plight of the victims. Much harder and perhaps more enlightening, is an understanding of the actions and motivations of the criminals. We know about the Nazi work camps like Auschwitz because there were survivors. We know less about the death camps like Treblinka and Chelmno where Jews were sent for the sole purpose of extermination. And the numbers keep coming and coming, millions gone from the Ukraine, millions from Poland. The Bloodlands of Eastern Europe where more people perished in a generation than at any other time in history. An understanding of the atrocities committed in the name of ideals is essential if we are to prevent a recurrence. Mr. Snider has certainly made a start.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joe Reader on Feb. 9 2011
Format: Hardcover
Some of us thought we had read all there is to read about WW2. For me,this book was the most captivating one of its kind, with detail that was overwhelming. A must read for even the most knowledgable on the subject of the Second World War, especially with reference to the ideology and methodology of these two leaders; Stalin and Hitler.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Broadsword on Feb. 1 2011
Format: Hardcover
I thought I had read all there was to read on this area of the world, at that point in history - what an eye-opener! There were parts during the description of the Holodomor years that I actually had to stop, put the book down and gather my thoughts for a moment. This book should be required reading for all high-school seniors, especially before embarking on the often dubious, post-secondary indoctrination that passes for a liberal arts education these days.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dariusz Piatkowski on Oct. 16 2013
Format: Paperback
The promise of this book was an impartial, objective review of what actually happened in those terrible years. The ethnicities affected by the war, the suffering and the people who tried to survive it all.

The author does a great job of detailing the political motives of the Soviet starvation campaigns. As the depth of the book builds and as further and further one is drawn into the depth of the despair it finally dawns on the reader that from about the mid-point of the volume the book becomes strangely Holocaust centric in it's point of view. And this really is my major objection to this otherwise terrific work.

My goal in reading this book was to understand the impact of the Nazi and Soviet policies on the nations of the Eastern Europe. Yet strangely enough the author at some point in the book actually defines the borders of 'bloodlands' as those which defined the geographical borders within which the Holocaust played out. Boy...that was NOT the point here...where are the details which pertain to non-Jewish impact of these terrible policies? Very little substance is presented to support the Polish impact, after all, let us not forget that WW2 started when the Nazi Germany and Stalinist Soviet Union attacked Poland.

If you are looking for an objective point of view unfortunately you need to keep on looking. On the other hand, if you want yet another in-depth study of Jewish suffering during WW2 this book might deliver.
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