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*Starred Review* Kizny, a Polish photographer and journalist, spent 15 years researching this amazing book, which contains 550 black-and-white photographs of life in the Soviet Gulag. In 1986 he began collecting eyewitness accounts from former Polish prisoners, and he traveled across the former USSR to find other witnesses and to photograph remnants of the Gulag, which was in operation from the 1920s to the 1980s and consisted of a network of concentration camps spread across the most northerly reaches of Europe and Asia. The harshness of the Arctic climate, the starvation levels of the diet, the length of the sentences, the routine brutality and depravity of the guards, the absence of proper medical care and of adequate heating and clothing, and the lack of hope inevitably produced a devastating mortality rate. Tens of millions of the convicts were frozen, starved, or worked or beaten to death. The photos gathered here range from official archival snapshots, showing both inmates and their captors, to scenes of enormous construction projects and snowbound ruins. Kizny has added his own photographs of the abandoned camps or work projects and included a brief history of the camps and personal accounts of survivors. These rare and historically significant photographs can only hint at the appalling horrors committed within the camps, and the importance of the book cannot be overstated. George Cohen
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Some book reviews could consist in their entirety of the phrase "Read this book." Here's a good example... it demands your upright posture, at a table or desk, studying the sheer enormity of the atrocity known as the Gulag... Read this book. (Linda Turk Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal 2004-10-31)
Hundreds of photos of gulag inmates and their surroundings... introduced by short and damning essays... an essentially arresting and haunting compilation. (Library Journal)
A stark visual reminder of the tens of millions of zeks, or putative convicts, who perished. (Carlin Romano Philadelphia Inquirer 2004-12-12)
Unique... certainly the widest ranging and most complete album of Gulag photographs ever published. (Anne Applebaum New York Review of Books 2005-03-24)
An extraordinary book. (January Magazine)
Massive... What makes Kinzy's book distinct from previous Gulag exposés is its powerful pictorial testimony... essays, historical notes, government records and eyewitness accounts that provide crucial background for the images. (Louise Abbott Montreal Gazette 2004-12-04)
Powerful and moving... It's tough and many of the photographs will send a chill down your spine. (M. Horton Edmonton Journal 2004-11-28)
[Starred Review:] Amazing book... These rare and historically significant photographs can only hint at the appalling horrors committed within the camps, and the importance of the book cannot be overstated. (George Cohen Booklist 2004-12-01)
Had Alexander Solzhenitsyn's forte been gathering photographs he would have created a book like Tomasz Kizny's. (Globe and Mail 2004-12-04)
Listed in January Magazine's Best of 2004: Extraordinary... unforgettable... Gulag is much more than a book: it's a lifework. (Aaron Blanton January Magazine)
Impressive... a stunning indictment of Soviet totalitarianism... many memorable images in this powerful book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. (T. Sexton Choice)