Customer Reviews


16 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turning the Numbers Back into People
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...
Published on Jan. 13 2011 by Jeffrey Swystun

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great beginning, then chapters of lost focus....
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...
Published 14 months ago by Dariusz Piatkowski


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turning the Numbers Back into People, Jan. 13 2011
By 
Jeffrey Swystun (Toronto & Mont Tremblant) - See all my reviews
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. And the first hand accounts are disturbing to say the least involving cannibalism, neighbor turning against neighbor, and the aggregate hardships faced by the inhabitants of the Bloodlands.

I read a review of the book by Istvan Deak, Seth Low Professor Emeritus at Colombia who provided this amazing illustration of the confusion, shifting alliances, borders, ideologies, and need to survive that defined the Bloodlands:

"It is not difficult, for example, to conjure the image of a young Ukrainian patriot in what used to be eastern Poland who, just before the outbreak of World War II, is drafted into the Polish army, but following the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland in September 1939 automatically becomes a Soviet citizen and is drafted into the Soviet army. Captured by the Germans in 1941 and confronted with the choice of starving to death in a POW camp or becoming a policeman in German service, he chooses the latter, and in the next few years he fights Soviet partisans and shoots defenseless Jews. In 1943 or 1944, he goes over to the partisans, as so many other Ukrainian policemen were doing. Soon, we find him in a Soviet uniform again, serving in a combat unit. He makes it across Central Europe, fighting against the Germans, but at one point he deserts, joining the countless other Red Army deserters who are indistinguishable from bandits, and who drift behind the combat units. Finally caught and accused of desertion, he ends up in the Gulag."

This book is tough to read but important for this point provided by the author, "The Nazi and Soviet regimes turned people into numbers. 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."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To kill on principle, July 8 2011
By 
Len (Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelming, Feb. 9 2011
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling & Intense, Feb. 1 2011
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great beginning, then chapters of lost focus...., Oct. 16 2013
This review is from: Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Every killer claiming victimhood, July 24 2014
By 
Brian Griffith (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (Paperback)
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. He does not want over- or under-estimated claims used for propaganda. Much of the book is therefore a fairly relentless catalogue of crimes, detailed, attested, and quantified. It’s a tale of old-fashioned holy war morphing into modern crusades of ideological and ethnic self-defense, with every killer claiming to be an avenging victim. As Snyder warns, it’s a problem that has reared it’s head again over recent decades, and that’s why this look at the common humanity of war criminals and murder victims needed to be written.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authoritative, Depressing, Powerful, March 12 2013
With 80 pages of bibliography and notes, Timothy Snyder's monumental record of the horrendous assault on the region between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia from 1933-1945 is meticulously researched. Such documentation lends heartbreaking credibility to facts and figures too astronomical to digest. Indeed, who would want to? The story is too gruesome, too maniacal, too sadistic to fathom. However, the tragedy must be told, and Snyder tells it well.

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
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Eastern Europe's Dance of Death made fascinating in an outstanding depiction of the wages of socialism, July 5 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
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" effort in the Second Great European Slaughter, aka WW II.

The book should be compulsory reading in every high school. Present day Russia still bears the same political sensibilities as those of the 1930's. I hope Obama has read this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Bloodlands, May 9 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
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 Ukraine-Soviet Union in the 1930s and 1940s will find new and compelling details that are about as bad as Nazism.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Humanizes an overwhelmingly horrible story, May 6 2014
By 
Rodge (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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. Rather than focusing on a history of Hitler or Stalin or any particular nation, Snyder tells the story of what he calls the bloodlands, for obvious reasons - the area of eastern Europe which was terrorized and brutalized by both Hitler and Stalin. He particularly focuses on the period of 1933 to 1945, from the first artificial Stalinist famines in Ukraine up to the end of the Second World War. Snyder balances a big picture project with personal anecdotes that help you to feel the individual impact of what was a widespread series of killings.

At the conclusion, he reminds us that each death was personal - that rather than thinking of say six million dead, we should think of six million "times one". Each person killed was important in and of themselves - their deaths did not serve some "greater purpose" such as Stalin or Hitler envisioned to justify the slaughter.

In the end, we are still overwhelmed by the slaughter, but by forcing ourselves to look at what happened and understand how it was justified, maybe we can avoid allowing the same sorts of justifications to take hold in the modern world
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder (Paperback - Oct. 2 2012)
CDN$ 23.00 CDN$ 16.61
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews