Red famine : Stalin's war on Ukraine

by Applebaum, Anne, 1964-

Format: Print Book 2017
Availability: Available at 13 Libraries 13 of 14 copies
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Brentwood Library Nonfiction 947.708 Applebaum
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CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction DK508.8374.A67 2017
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From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag and the National Book Award finalist Iron Curtain , a revelatory history of one of Stalin's greatest crimes--the consequences of which still resonate today

In 1929 Stalin launched his policy of agricultural collectivization--in effect a second Russian revolution--which forced millions of peasants off their land and onto collective farms. The result was a catastrophic famine, the most lethal in European history. At least five million people died between 1931 and 1933 in the USSR. But instead of sending relief the Soviet state made use of the catastrophe to rid itself of a political problem. In Red Famine , Anne Applebaum argues that more than three million of those dead were Ukrainians who perished not because they were accidental victims of a bad policy but because the state deliberately set out to kill them.

Applebaum proves what has long been suspected: after a series of rebellions unsettled the province, Stalin set out to destroy the Ukrainian peasantry. The state sealed the republic's borders and seized all available food. Starvation set in rapidly, and people ate anything: grass, tree bark, dogs, corpses. In some cases, they killed one another for food. Devastating and definitive, Red Famine captures the horror of ordinary people struggling to survive extraordinary evil.

Today, Russia, the successor to the Soviet Union, has placed Ukrainian independence in its sights once more. Applebaum's compulsively readable narrative recalls one of the worst crimes of the twentieth century, and shows how it may foreshadow a new threat to the political order in the twenty-first.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* Pulitzer Prize-winning Applebaum's (Iron Curtain, 2012) richly researched account of the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33 pulls no punches, either in its harrowing descriptions of starvation or its assertive analysis of the cynical Stalinist political calculus that caused it. Although there were food shortages in many parts of the USSR then, the situation in Ukraine, traditionally the breadbasket of Eastern Europe, was made particularly dire by Soviet policy decisions designed to squeeze value from the region and punish it for past disloyalty. Collectivization of farms forced peasants to give up their land, depriving them of sustenance, while the authorities confiscated all available grain for the military, Soviet officials, and political loyalists. As the population began to starve, Stalin's secret police purged the region of intellectuals and Ukrainian nationalists, and fomented violence that turned the poorest peasants against their slightly wealthier neighbors. The result, captured in survivors' accounts and further revealed in recently opened archives, was hell on earth: scoured landscapes, distended bodies and destroyed minds, corpses in the street, and horrific choices. Applebaum deftly parses decades of politicized reportage and deliberate obfuscation to show how seemingly distinct aspects of Stalinism were deployed to suppress an independent Ukraine. Applebaum adds important context and compelling insights to WWII history and more recent regional conflicts. Highly recommended.--Driscoll, Brendan Copyright 2017 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this monograph, which is sure to be controversial, Applebaum (Iron Curtain), a professor of practice at the London School of Economics who lives in Poland, argues that Stalin's 1929 plan for agricultural collectivization was more sinister than socialist and that he sought to systematically rid the burgeoning Soviet Union of Ukrainian peasants. Her eyebrow-raising thesis is that Stalin ruthlessly used famine as a weapon to kill off Ukrainian peasants, intending to replace them with more compliant Russians to secure both a bread basket and a military front. Applebaum attempts to show how collectivization resulted in genocide and outlines Stalin's prolonged death plan for Ukraine, beginning with the Ukrainian peasant uprising of 1919 and including both its bureaucratic underpinnings and horrifying consequences. Reframing the history of this sad period in terms of hatred and nationalism, Applebaum states that in 1932, amid drought and crop failure, "the Kremlin could have offered food aid to Ukraine," but Stalin instead stepped up the famine campaign. It is an inflammatory accusation based on circumstantial evidence, and even Applebaum admits that "no written instructions governing the behavior of activists have ever been found." The Nazis also had a "Hunger Plan" for Ukraine, which according to her was Stalin's "multiplied many times," but they never implemented it. Applebaum's revisionist historiography may serve her concluding claims against Vladimir Putin's aggressions today, but it doesn't stand up to deep scrutiny. Maps & illus. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."

Additional Information
Subjects Genocide -- Ukraine -- History -- 20th century.
Collectivization of agriculture -- Ukraine -- History.
Famines -- Ukraine -- History -- 20th century.
Ukraine -- History -- Famine, 1932-1933.
Publisher New York :Doubleday,2017
Edition First United States edition.
Other Titles Stalin's war on Ukraine
Language English
Description xxx, 461 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 363-434) and index.
ISBN 9780385538855
Other Classic View