5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely shocking, harrowing and painfull to read.,
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This review is from: Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (Paperback)
This book depressed and shocked me more than any other book that I read in a long long time. The human suffering explained in great detail in this book and the amount of numbers Snyder is referring to are at times hard to take in. It almost unbelievable that no-one intervened earlier and that both Russia and Germany were given so much space (mainly in the Ukraine, the Baltic States and Poland) to commit such atrocious crimes. Crimes that started far before WWII started and continued long after the war ended. As such the book makes a very strong point for the fact that there were two evil countries and not only just one. The result : 14 million people perished and Snyder narrates without exception, does not hold back and decribes this crimes till the last detail. The story itself is about through what way and methods, did Stalin and Hitler got rid of unwanted people. Of course the most famous are the 6 million Jews who perished in the Nazi death camps. But as Snyder demonstrates, most Jews that were killed never even saw a concentration camp from the inside. Far more were shot, starved to death or asphyxiated in one of the gas vans that were driving around (as in Minsk, for example). But, there is also much space about how the Germans treated Russian prisoners of war, and how visa versa the Russians avenged their comrades once the roles were turned around. Katyn, Babi Jar, the deployment of Trawniki's, etc. Because Snyder often cites from personal accounts, notes, letters of people that survided or died, the story comes very close and becomes very personal. A harrowing read but at the same time also a very compulsory read. This book should be read far beyond the border of historians and serve as a warning and a lesson for all times but is not for the faint hearted.