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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Journey into the Whirlwind Kindle Edition
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So unbelievable to read about the thousands upon thousands of intelligent, loyal citizens were torn from loved ones, tortured and killed. Only the author's extreme stoicism , her love of fellow inmates and her love of poetry kept her alive. If there is a Hell, Stalin gets first billing. Then Hitler. And to think, nobody believed what they heard about the Gulags or the concentration camps. Maybe Hell is a mine inside the Artic Circle , or perhaps a camp guarded by some ghost SS men, aided by dogs of the animal and human variety.
Whether each and every conversation is reported verbatim is a minor point, and I will give the author some leeway in using artistic license. She was unable to keep a diary, so I will allow her to recreate, to the best of her recollection, what was said and by whom, during those tumultuous events. She never lived to see the fall of the Soviet Union, but at least she survived long enough to see the Twentieth and Twenty-Second Party Congresses which began the process of rehabilitation and restoration of peoples' reputations.
A revolution eats itself, and it is no where more evident than reading Ginzburg's accounts of men who formerly had interrogated her and her fellow inmates themselves becoming caught up in the system. This account is a good addition to Anne Applebaum's "Gulag", which is a broader overview of the history of the Soviet Gulag system. "Gulag" shows how the system of oppression was not by any means an anomaly but was part and parcel of the Soviet system of government, from its earliest days. Ginzburg's "Whirlwind" focuses like a laser on the experiences of one particular victim.
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