Yes, lots of historical information. Gives a better understanding of the suffering, and the callousness to that suffering that was going on during World War Two.
I've read numerous books over the years about the Holocaust, Europe during World War I and World War II, and I have studied countless other documentaries on the same subjects. But, I don't think I've ever been so thoroughly engrossed and caught up in such an accounting of Europe during that era as I was during the reading/listening of Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands.
Even though the author probably overdid the statistical storytelling of the horrific numbers of such a tremendous torture and killing, and away, the story needs to be told, and the numbers even though hard to fathom, need to be stated so that you can at least have an attempt at realizing the unimaginable time that this world went through less than 100 years ago.
With all if the uprisings and totalitarian States that still exist in the world today, you would think that humanity would have learned its lesson by now.
Let's just hope that we never have to revisit the magnitude and scale of the loss of humanity, misery, human torture and loss of life ever again.
It's a shame, and all you can ask yourself is "Why God… Why?"
Almost every page is filled with the horror of massive killing. Not an 'enjoyable' topic, but Snyder has authored a riveting presentation of historical events.
Synder's relatively unique combination of historical factors as related to a geographic area provide a perfect framework for this explanation of how and why 14 million people were murdered by Germany and Russia.
The killing of 14 million non-combatants is not an easy topic to hear. Because of the murderous theme of the book, it was necessary to frequently stop for a rest from the often gruesome presentation of facts.
A first rate history book in which Snyder presents a unique and thoughtful analysis of how and why 14 million citizens were murdered in the name of politics. Snyder also successfully challenges numerous commonly accepted 'truths' about the forces unleashed by Hitler and Stalin. I am left with the conclusion that there is no such thing as an innate positive human nature.
I've read quite a lot about WWII and the Holocaust, but this book really bought home the scale of the industrial murder that took place between the Elbe and the Vistula and between 1933 and 1945. Snyder doesn't need to make trite comparisons between Stalinist and Hitlerian atrocities - he lets the crimes and the victims speak for themselves, and the result is a valuable and humane book that should be compulsory reading for our current crop of gung-ho intellectual pygmy leaders, keen to repeat the same mistakes in our supposedly more enlightened times.
Tell us about yourself! I like Russian novels.
I appreciated Snyder's professional integrity throughout the book. He drew me into the story so well, I felt I needed to call my therapist, after I finished each chapter.
I can think of no book that compares to Bloodlands.
Ralph Cosham's contribution is more than amazing!
I will be crying for the rest of my life.
The book itself is well documented and covers many areas of history for which there is little written in English; case in point Soviet activities in Eastern Poland from ’39 through ’41. My only complaint is that the narrative was very light on the anti-Soviet movements of the post WWII period. I had hoped to hear more specifics on the Ukrainian UPA and similar movements in the Baltics. Nevertheless, this was a very well done piece.The reader was above average but there seemed to voice-overs for some of the names that were a little more difficult to pronounce, making for a degree of distraction.In summation, despite the small complaints listed above, this book is well worth purchasing.
It is amazing that the generally accepted "Holocaust" while terrible beyond words, was but a very small portion of the mass killings, (forced) starvation, and ethnic cleansing that took place in the Eastern European Nations before and after WWII.
Unfortunately, the endless examples of starving Ukranians who suffered most from Stalin's rule, and the author's oft missed point that while the concentraion camps were terrible, they were not nearly as bad as the (eastern) death camps and sites of mass killings, where few - if any - survived to tell the tale to would-be historians.
While interesting in detail and it's presentation of new information to the western world, I feel "favorite" would imply a positive, but so much of the text was grim and tragic.
The narrator is not great. I do sort of appreciate the deadpan newscaster style, but it's a little too deadpan for me. Also, they had him go back and repronounce many of the proper names and you can hear how they were patched in. It's distracting. Not that I could have done better with the names myself, mind you.
I find the material utterly gripping with perfect pacing and a sense of revelation that just kept going and going. Part of me has always wanted the full details of these atrocities laid out, and that is exactly what this book provides. Even the dry lists of body counts and statistics holds a lot of tension and horror for me.
It feels too inadequate to write down, but "How could this happen?" It must be very, very easy for us to get trapped in these modes of thinking. What will prevent it in the future?
I listen to books while gardening or travelling. Favorite when gardening was Swann's Way; favorite when travelling was Herodotus' Histories
I would not describe listening to Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands as enjoyable. But it is a bracing and rather harrowing history of the countries located between the Soviet Union and Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, most especially the Ukraine and Belarus. Bloodlands is an apt description for the unimaginable scale of mass murder, starvation, and sheer human evil that took place in those years. The history is highly intelligent and lucidly told (very important when listening rather than reading), though I am still not quite sure whether Snyder's thesis that once the Germans knew the war was lost, they shifted their war aims to the destruction of European Jews is entirely convincing. Bloodlands is a superb history, where the narration matches its subject so well as to make the story of what happened in those countries compelling and entirely memorable.
Bloodlands is history, not fiction, so favorite characters are not entirely appropriate.
The narration of this lengthy and intricate history was superb.
There were many moments that moved me, most especially when Snyder described the horrific instances of cannibalism when people by the hundreds of thousands starved to death, the victims of Stalin's failed (and to us perhaps incomprehensible) economic policies.
For any of us with family or ancestors from the area -- it is hard to acknowledge the things that happened. I learned from this book -- the subject matter made it impossible to "enjoy" it.