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War in the Woods: Estonia's Struggle for Survival, 1944-1956 [Hardcover]

Mart Laar , Tonu Parming , Tiina Ets
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

July 1992
With the Soviet reoccupation after World War II, Estonians faced a choice of submitting to Communist puppets or trying to survive in the traditional refuge of their forests while waiting for help from the West which never came. Those who chose the second course, Estonia's "Forest Brothers," mounted an armed resistance which, for more than a decade, seriously challenged Soviet rule. This is their story, told for the first time by sources within Estonia. This account is drawn from interviews with Forest Brothers who survived and relatives of those who died, and from documents and photographs from Soviet KGB files. It reflects Estonian courage and humor, the faith and sacrifice of a people suppressed, and the indomitable determination of a free nation to regain independence.

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Estonia is a small land of forests and swamps on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
I found this to an interesting book. Most books covering this period gloss over the Baltic States and their history. The book covers a short history of the Estonians centuries of struggle for independence then leads into it's main focus, of the Estonian's struggle for survival and hope for western intervention after the Russians returned following a brief Nazi occupation. During the first occupation brought about by the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact many Estonians including the President and his cabinet were deported and later died in gulags if they weren't murdered outright. In fall of 1944, the Russians returned and recommenced their Russification policy, mass deportations and executions ensued while Russians were sent to fill in the lands where Estonians had been deported from. This spurred the guerilla movement. Many who went to hide in the woods were just waiting for the west to intervene as everyone thought that the Americans and British would not allow the Communists to stay in formerly independent territories. Unfortunately, the Russian occupation lasted until 1991. The book describes how collectivization was instituted to eliminate the small family farms which supported the guerillas and everything in Estonia was turned into an economic support system for Moscow.
A great read, well worth the money!!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hidden history of the struggle to regain independence. July 1 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"War in the Woods" by (current Estonian Prime Minister) Mart Laar is a spectacular retelling of a history many did no know existed. The book tells the story of the "forest brothers," partisan fighters in Estonia (and the other Baltic states) during the Soviet Occupation beginning 1944.
The book features countless narration from "forest brothers" themselves, taken in the late 1980s. Laar risked personal safety during this time collecting these stories, stories the Soviet Union never wanted people to hear.
The recounts conjure up difficult emotions and a sense of triumph, despite the impossible odds faced by the "forest brothers" against the occupying Red Army. Even for those not particularly interested in the history of the region, the book is a fascinating read. For regional history buffs, this is a must.
Some accuse Mart Laar of over-dramatising some of the sequences; however, the research which gives the book its meat brings forth the missing stories from a side that never had the chance to tell their story.
Now they finally have their chance, through the pen of the current Prime Minister of Estonia.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book covering an overlooked topic!!! Must Read!! Dec 21 2003
By "chieft76" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found this to an interesting book. Most books covering this period gloss over the Baltic States and their history. The book covers a short history of the Estonians centuries of struggle for independence then leads into it's main focus, of the Estonian's struggle for survival and hope for western intervention after the Russians returned following a brief Nazi occupation. During the first occupation brought about by the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact many Estonians including the President and his cabinet were deported and later died in gulags if they weren't murdered outright. In fall of 1944, the Russians returned and recommenced their Russification policy, mass deportations and executions ensued while Russians were sent to fill in the lands where Estonians had been deported from. This spurred the guerilla movement. Many who went to hide in the woods were just waiting for the west to intervene as everyone thought that the Americans and British would not allow the Communists to stay in formerly independent territories. Unfortunately, the Russian occupation lasted until 1991. The book describes how collectivization was instituted to eliminate the small family farms which supported the guerillas and everything in Estonia was turned into an economic support system for Moscow.
A great read, well worth the money!!!
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Estonia's Struggle for Independance Feb. 14 2001
By "eiole" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Written by the current Estonian Prime Minister Mart Laar, this book gives many first-hand accounts of the Forset Brothers doomed struggle against the occupying Soviet forces in Estonia after WW2.(The Forset Brothers were groups of armed resistance fighters based in the woods of Estonia).
While some stories tell of heroic and unbelievable battles against the KGB, most are unfortunately tragic and sad stories of Soviets killing and raping innocent civilians. However these stories must be told to preserve Estonian history and to account for Stalins Holocost in the East.
Necessary reading for anyone of Estonian descent.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to a sadly obscure topic May 5 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
"War in the Woods" is a well-written and fascinating exploration of the topic of Baltic nationalist resistance to the Soviet annexation. While the book focuses on Estonia, the Latvian and Lithuanian Forest Brothers (the nickname for the Baltic rebels) are not neglected. The history, organization and tactics of the Forest Brothers are all addressed in some detail.
(btw, those interested in the ill-fated British and American attempts to aid the Forest Brothers should look at "Operation Rollback", which details the sorry history of the American anti-Soviet program of the late 1940s and early 1950s)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving information July 29 2008
By T - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book hit home with my Dad who lived through these times. He is currently reading it. Some areas are a little difficult to read because of the translation.
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