Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Oct 10, 2017 - History - 496 pages

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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - EricCostello - LibraryThing

The story of the Holodomor, the great Ukrainian famine of the 1930s, was somewhat familiar to me; it had been covered in my Russian history courses at university in the mid-to-late 1980s. This was ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - drmaf - LibraryThing

Srark account of one of Stalin's worst crimes - the callously engineered extermination of up to 4 million Ukrainian in 1932-33 by forced starvation. As the author indicates, the Ukraine was a hotbed ... Read full review

Selected pages


The Ukrainian Revolution 1917
Rebellion 1919
Famine and Truce The 1920s
The Double Crisis 19279
Revolution in the Countryside 1930
Rebellion 1930
The Searches and the Searchers
Spring and Summer 1933
Spring and Summer 1933
The CoverUp
The Holodomor in History and Memory
The Ukrainian Question Reconsidered

Collectivization Fails 19312
Requisitions Blacklists and Borders
The End of Ukrainization
Selected Bibliography
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About the author (2017)

ANNE APPLEBAUM is a columnist for The Washington Post, a Professor of Practice at the London School of Economics, and a contributor to The New York Review of Books. Her previous books include Iron Curtain, winner of the Cundill Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award, and Gulag, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction and a finalist for three other major prizes. She lives in Poland with her husband, Radek Sikorski, a Polish politician, and their two children.

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