26 October 2017
Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum
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.
Anne Applebaum is a journalist, a historian and the author of several books about the Soviet Union and central Europe. Her most recent book, "Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956" was a finalist for the National book Award and won the Cundill Prize for Historical Literature. "Gulag: A History" won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction. Her writing appears regularly in the Washington Post, Slate, the New York Review of Books and the Spectator, as well as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the New Yorker and many other journals. She first reported from Poland in 1989, and still lives there part of the time with her husband, Radek Sikorski, a Polish politician and writer. She is also the author of a cookbook, "From a Polish Country House Kitchen" and a travelogue, "Between East and West."
Publisher: Doubleday Books
Yearof publication: 2017