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The Victims Return: Survivors of the Gulag after Stalin [Paperback]

Stephen F. Cohen

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Book Description

June 19 2012
Stalin’s Reign of terror in the Soviet Union has been called “the other holocaust.” During the Stalin years, it is thought that more innocent men, women, and children perished than in Hitler’s destruction of the European Jews. Many millions died in Stalin’s Gulag of torture prisons and forced labor camps, yet others survived and were freed after his death in 1953.
This book is the story of the survivors. Long kept secret by Soviet repression and censorship, it is now told by renowned author and historian Stephen F. Cohen, who came to know many former Gulag inmates during his frequent trips to Moscow over a period of 30 years. Based on first-hand interviews with the victims themselves and on newly available materials, Cohen provides a powerful narrative of the survivors’ post-Gulag saga, from their liberation and return to Soviet society, to their long struggle to salvage what remained of their shattered lives and to obtain justice; showing that the struggle between anti-Stalinists and Stalinists is still under way in Russia today.

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"[Stephen F. Cohen] helps us better understand Russia’s enigmatic present and better appreciate what to look for as it lurches into the future." -- The New York Times

"A striking memoir ... Cohen engages fully - and personally - with the debate on the way [Russians] continue to grapple with their Stalinist legacy." -- The New Yorker
"As Russia swings to the right under Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent whom some compare to Stalin, Cohen does a good job of rattling the skeletons in its closet." -- The Washington Post

About the Author

Stephen F. Cohen is a leading scholar of Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, a media commentator, and the author of several widely acclaimed books. He is a professor of Russian Studies and History at New York University and Emeritus Professor of Politics at Princeton, and was awarded the prestigious 2011 Liberty Award for his contribution to developing cultural ties between the US and Russia. His books include Bukharin and the Bolshevik Revolution: A Political Biography; Rethinking the Soviet Experience; Sovieticus; Failed Crusade: America; and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia and Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives. Cohen is married to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, where he is a contributing editor.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough focus on the topic Oct. 14 2014
By M. Hyman - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this book a bit disappointing, especially compared to some other books by the author. The author is an eminent Sovietologist, and has spent much time in Russia. The premise of the book is fascinating: what happened to the survivors of the Gulag. To the extent that the book portrays the lives of a variety of Gulag survivors, with what it was like for them in and out of the Gulag, the book is quite good. It is a worthy and interesting topic. The problem with the book is that it spends too much time on the author's experiences with the survivors and less of the survivors experiences. I would have found the book significantly more interesting if the balance were opposite. More survivors, more survivor stories, more Gulag stories, and follow ups ... that would be great. But as it is written, it is too much about the author's life and experiences.
5.0 out of 5 stars Results of oppression Aug. 28 2014
By Dudne - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author outlines the tragic recoveries the Soviet prisoners had after the Stalin Gulags. However it is also pointed out the many monuments erected to the victims and other monuments are not to be found even for the survivors of American slavery or for other Soviet victims. Thus showing us that the Leaders of countries have selective remorse for their actions.

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