This extremely well researched tome of 561 pages has it all.
It covers the period 1939 through 2000 and documents the taking of 22,000 Polish Officers and policemen as prisoners of war when the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939.
On the recommendation of NKVD Chief Beria with Stalin’s approval, they were executed in 1940 by the NKVD in the Katyn forest, two other NKVD prison camp locations and in NKVD prisons in Belarus and the Ukraine. Why it was decided to massacre these prisoners rather than sending them to the GULAG, remains a mystery.
The German army, after reoccupying the Katyn location, unearthed some of the 4,400 Polish Officers buried there. They accused the Russians of the massacre which began Russia’s 50-year cover up of their crimes. This even included their insistence on prosecuting the Germans for the crime during the Nuremburg trials in 1946. While the other Allies effectively ended that fiasco, they, nevertheless, considered it politically expedient to ignore the evidence of the Russian massacres until a Congressional Select Committee published it’s conclusions in 1953 that “. . . beyond any question of reasonable doubt . . . the Soviet NKVD . . . committed the mass murders of the Polish Officers and intellectual leaders in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk, Russia.”
Finally, in 1990, President Gorbachev provided classified archival documents indicating the NKVD’s responsibility for the executions. (However, in true Soviet style; “In 2005 the Russian State Prosecutor declared that the massacres, for which the Soviet Union had expressed ‘profound regret’ in 1990, were not genocide, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, but a military crime for which the fifty year term of limitation had expired, and that in consequence ‘there is absolutely no basis to talk about this in judicial terms.’ Of the 183 volumes of files compiled by Russian investigators, 116 have been kept secret, despite assurances by President Putin that the truth could at last be told.” The Routledge Atlas of the Second World War, 2nd ed., 2009, Martin Gilbert)
In addition to its historical narrative timeline of events, the book also contains the classified documents released by the Federal Archival Agency of Russia, extensive source document notes, maps and photos, biographical sketches, glossary of organizations and political parties and over 90 pages of explanatory notes.
This book is expensive because it’s historical research – not a novel. I believe it to be the most authoritative, and comprehensive, to date.