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Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin [Hardcover]

Timothy Snyder
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Sep 2010

* In the middle of Europe, in the middle of the twentieth century, the Nazi and Soviet regimes murdered fourteen million people in a zone of death between Berlin and Moscow.

* These were the bloodlands - today's Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, western Russia and the eastern Baltic coast. In a twelve-year period - 1933 to 1945 - as a result of deliberate polices unrelated to combat, an average of more than a million civilians were murdered annually. At the end of the Second World War the bloodlands fell behind the iron curtain, leaving their history in darkness.

* In this revelatory book Timothy Snyder offers a groundbreaking investigation of Europe's killing fields and a sustained explanation of the motives and methods of both Hitler and Stalin. He anchors the history of Hitler's Holocaust and Stalin's Terror in their time and place and provides a fresh account of the relationship between the two regimes. Using scholarly literature and primary sources in all relevant languages, Snyder pays special attention to the testimony of the victims: the letters home, the notes flung from trains, the diaries found on corpses.

* Brilliantly researched, profoundly humane, authoritative and original, Bloodlands re-examines the greatest tragedy in European history and forces us to rethink our past.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Bodley Head; First Edition 4th Impression edition (30 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224081411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224081412
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 191,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"scintillating... cogently argued"--Daily Express

"[Snyder's] use of Polish sources makes this book almost unique for English-language readers...superb"--Literary Review

"a superb work of scholarship, full of revealing detail, cleverly compiled from a number of previously little-known sources"--Sunday Times

"Gripping and comprehensive... revisionist history of the best kind: in spare, closely argued prose, with meticulous use of statistics"--The Economist

"Snyder set out to give a human face to the many millions of victims of totalitarianism. He has succeeded admirably."--Roger Moorehouse, BBC History Magazine

"...the figures are so huge and so awful that grief could grow numb. But Snyder, who is a noble writer as well as a great researcher, knows that. He asks us not to think in those round numbers."--The Guardian

Book Description

A magisterial new history book about the bloodlands - the lands that lie between Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Germany - where 14 million people were killed during the years 1933 - 1944

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The True Horror. 24 Oct 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was raised amongst survivors of the great horror that was the War in Eastern Europe. My mother endured forced labour under the Soviets in 1940 and slave labour under the Nazis after 1941. She saw some of her family being deported by the Soviets to almost certain death in Kazakhstan and discovered the rest in a mass grave, shot by the Nazis. Her best friend survived Auschwitz. My Godfather was a partizan in the forests around Lwow, fighting both Nazis and Soviets. My Godmother lived through the Stalinist regime, survived the battles for Kharkov and slave labour in Germany. I was taught chess by a White Russian whose memories of that time were horrific. Even I visited Auschwitz in 1963 - when I returned to England I was shocked to realise non of the English people I knew knew anything about the place. Until recently who, apart from the Poles, knew the truth about Katyn?
So, when I started reading Timothy Snyder's "Bloodlands" my first impression was "There is nothing new here". I'd heard it all in one place or another. But what Snyder does do is take all those evils and puts them together in his Pandora's Box - only one thing is missing, Hope. Because there was no hope, only fear and death. The depressing bleakness hollows out the soul. One has to pause to take stock, to look away, to absorb the evil and hear the dead cry out for justice, and an understanding that what happened there, on the "Eastern Front", in the "Bloodlands", actually exceeded anything the West could understand: "...The American and British soldiers who liberated the dying inmates from camps in Germany believed that they had discovered the horrors of Nazism.
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170 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Considerable Achievement 10 Oct 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Timothy Snyder defines the Bloodlands in today's terms as Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States, Petersburg, the western rim of the Russian Federation, and most of Poland. Between 1930 and 1945, the region saw the murder of more than 14 million people. The famine associated with farm collectivisation took more than three million lives, mostly in Ukraine. The Great Terror (/Purge/Yezhovshchina), also pre-war, took 700,000. The Nazis and Soviets then invaded Poland and the Baltic States, and both set about eliminating the educated classes; 200,000 dead. Hitler invaded the Soviet Union and starved to death a million or more Leningrad residents and three million prisoners of war. More than five million Jews living in Poland, the Baltic States and the occupied Soviet Union were shot or gassed. After the tide of war turned, the Soviets encouraged partisans to harry retreating German troops (but gave them little support) and a further half million civilians were killed in Belarus and Warsaw.

As the 700 plus entries in the bibliography of this volume demonstrate, there is a vast scholarship that falls within or overlaps this subject area. Timothy Snyder's achievement, and it is very considerable, is to bring it all together, presenting data, narrative and a selection of first-hand accounts as a coherent and digestible whole. The horror and the scale of the slaughter are hard to comprehend - staggering numbers of people rounded-up, transported, killed, and bodies disposed of in very short spaces of time, even a single day, or night. They are also hard to take, especially when a few last words reach us from a victim, such as from a child who knows she is about to be killed, and how.

But Timothy Snyder has a bigger purpose than merely to shock us.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
As stated or implied in a number of other reviews this book is extraordinarily well researched. It has a particularly high level of scholarship, while being eminently readable. The concluding essay,entitled "Humanity" is particularly perspicatious, and has lessons for us today. The author points out the danger of identifying with victims, and separating victims from perpetrators without understanding that a victim can also be a perpetrator. For a victim and a perpetrator can be one and the same: victimhood can stand as a justication for the crimes commited. Thus both Stalin and Hitler claimed to be victims of international capitalist or Jewish conspiracy, fuelling both the Soviet Great Terror of the 1930s and the Holocaust respectively. One can see similar ideas of victimhood active in today's world,for example in the Middle East, leading to e.g. suicide bombings on the one hand and disproportionate reprisals, human rights violations,even retributory murders on the other. Another point brought up is that of regarding the perpetrator as beyond the pale of understanding, in fact to be subhuman or inhuman. This is a cop-out and in effect buys into the same philosophy as Hitler. As Lawrence Rees has pointed out in a number of his books(e.g. Auschwitz : The Nazis & The 'Final Solution', interviews with war criminals reveal them to be banal and ordinary, in fact all too human. It is this which needs explaining, and Snyder goes some considerable way to doing this. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Every killer claiming victimhood
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. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Brian Griffith
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Shocking revelations
Excellent. Shocking revelations. Ought to be part of compulsory reading at schools. History should warn us. On top of everything in the book happened in not so distant past. Read more
Published 28 days ago by ada
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential history of Europe - terrible times in early 20th century
I recommend this book to everyone who wants to know the terrible story of what happened in the lands between Berlin and Moscow. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MR DAVID R TUCKER
5.0 out of 5 stars Ukraine
A must read with Figes Crimea for anyone striving to understand the present shenanigans in the Ukraine.It is a very clear presentation of the facts but most interestingly written.
Published 4 months ago by Ms. Da Sayed
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth in Numbers
Truth in Numbers

Having admired Timothy Snyder's reviews in NYRB, I looked forward to reading Bloodlands. Read more
Published 5 months ago by The Outsider
3.0 out of 5 stars Important perspective on a horrific period, but somewhat flawed
Bloodlands is an important history that focuses on the state sponsored mass murder that took place mainly in what is now Poland, Ukraine and Belarus, at the hands of Hitler and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mike in Sussex
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought as a gift.
I haven't read it myself but I was told that it was good. There are some maps in the book which were interesting.
Published 6 months ago by CG1
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book.
This is a very worthwhile book and incredibly interesting. The subject matter makes for harrowing reading. Read more
Published 6 months ago by I. Fry
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant expose of geopolitic horrors on a grandiose scale
This book convincingly analyses the massacres carried out by both the German Nazis and the Soviets over the part of Europe extending from the Baltics in the north to the Ukraine in... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Marcus Ferrar
5.0 out of 5 stars A proper history book
Clearly the product of many years spent in the archives, this book has a fantastic Notes and Bibliography section that refers you to the source material that supports the text, it... Read more
Published 10 months ago by David Morris
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