- Paperback: 736 pages
- Publisher: Anchor Books (April 9, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400034094
- ISBN-13: 978-1400034093
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 226 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#27,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #13 in Books > Textbooks > Social Sciences > Political Science > Political Ideologies
- #20 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Ideologies & Doctrines > Communism & Socialism
- #25 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Russian & Former Soviet Union
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Gulag: A History
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From Publishers Weekly
Nearly 30 million prisoners passed through the Soviet Union's labor camps in their more than 60 years of operation. This remarkable volume, the first fully documented history of the gulag, describes how, largely under Stalin's watch, a regulated, centralized system of prison labor-unprecedented in scope-gradually arose out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution. Fueled by waves of capricious arrests, this prison labor came to underpin the Soviet economy. Applebaum, a former Warsaw correspondent for the Economist and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, draws on newly accessible Soviet archives as well as scores of camp memoirs and interviews with survivors to trace the gulag's origins and expansion. By the gulag's peak years in the early 1950s, there were camps in every part of the country, and slave labor was used not only for mining and heavy industries but for producing every kind of consumer product (chairs, lamps, toys, those ubiquitous fur hats) and some of the country's most important science and engineering (Sergei Korolev, the architect of the Soviet space program, began his work in a special prison laboratory). Applebaum details camp life, including strategies for survival; the experiences of women and children in the camps; sexual relationships and marriages between prisoners; and rebellions, strikes and escapes. There is almost too much dark irony to bear in this tragic, gripping account. Applebaum's lucid prose and painstaking consideration of the competing theories about aspects of camp life and policy are always compelling. She includes an appendix in which she discusses the various ways of calculating how many died in the camps, and throughout the book she thoughtfully reflects on why the gulag does not loom as large in the Western imagination as, for instance, the Holocaust.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
From Library Journal
More than a full-scale history of the Soviet Gulag, this work by the Spectator's deputy editor asks why it is so little remembered in both Russia and the West.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
Top customer reviews
In the work Applebaum set a goal to include the prison camps and abuses under the Soviet Eastern European satellite countries. This chapter is lengthy and merely a collection of facts and figures and does not provide any of the qualitative struggles discussed in part 2. These chapters are included by the author to provide a comprehensive survey of the Soviet Gulag.
With access to greater documentation Gulag is an excellent and more comprehensive work that updates Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago published in the West during the 1970s. I recommend reading A Day in the Life of Denis Ivanovich by Solzhenitsyn which gives a fictional account of one day in a prison labor camp published in the West in 1962-63. It is one book that has left a memorable impression on me.
Due to the lack of information and contradictions in documents she notes the difficulties in assessing how many people entered the Gulag. In an appendix she provides a discussion of many people were impacted. Relying on other studies she that 6 t0 7 million people exiled and 28.7 forced laborers entered the Gulag.
I found the introduction and epilogue mandatory reading. Kindle readers need to be aware that the book opens at chapter one and need to go back to the introduction. Her summary is outstanding and points out that the Gulag does receives very little attention in comparison to the NAZI Holocaust. In an epilogue she points out that Russia has not confronted its past atrocities, and is becoming a forgotten memory with the likelihood that history will repeat itself.
Absolutely 5 stars; I give it infinite stars!