This is a very detailed and wonderful description of how the Soviet Union crushed and conquered Eastern Europe in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.
Ms. Applebaum divides her work into two sections. The first, entitled 'False Dawn', documents and highlights how the Red Army overran the Wehrmacht in 1945 and began to consolidate their victory in the post-war situation with the introduction of local, Moscow trained personnel and Moscow trained secret policeman. This control was further tightened by the use of radio, the manipulation and outlawing of any opposition parties and organisations, the eradication of any private business with the creation of a state controlled economy and also, strangely, the infiltration and domination of youth movements.
The second section, 'High Stalinism', explains just how the communists maintained their hold on Eastern Europe up until changes began to occur in 1956. Eliminating all opposition such as the Church and even anti-fascist movements set up during the war, the communists also turned upon their own at the start of the 1950s. The creation of new 'worker' cities were also on the agenda as was the domination of all culture, music, literature and film. The plan being to bombard the populations of Eastern Europe with nothing but 'Socialism'.
Ms. Applebaum has produced a gem of a book. Well researched and well written, the author documents and explains just how much the Eastern European nations were directed by the Soviets. A Truly frightening piece of work and I can not recommend this work enough. Excellent !!