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Littleton, MA, United States


  • Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Timothy Snyder
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Americans think of World War II as “The Good War”, a moment when the forces of good resoundingly triumphed over evil. Yet the war was not decided by D-day. It was decided in the East, by the Red Army and Joseph Stalin. While conventional wisdom locates the horrors of World War II in the six million Jews killed in German concentration camps, the reality is even grimmer. In 13 years, the Nazi and Soviet regimes killed 13 million people in the lands between Germany and Russia.

    Joseph says: "Stuck between mad men"
    "Innocents Murdered Between History and War"
    What made the experience of listening to Bloodlands the most enjoyable?

    New information flows from this excellently researched book that covers a largely lost body of history. The book crosses a long arc of Soviet history and shows the recurring theme of inhumanity to a helpless people. The Bloodlands were the western areas of the Soviet Union that took the brunt of the German Assault in WWII. However that is only part of the story. This area was devastated the persecution of farming Kulaks and the miserable collectivization of farms that created epic famines. What was enlightening and horrifying was that the greatest number of murders came from the Soviets on their own people for no sensible reason.This book could make all of us think twice about the consequences of strong centralized, all powerful governments with cliques on their own agenda.This is a particularly difficult book to read as it deals with horrific events exacted on helpless people. It is a story of the systematic murder of millions of innocent civilians by two countries, the Soviet Union and Germany. After reading this book, you will be assured why the Ukrainians wanted out of the USSR at the earliest opportunity. Frankly, several times I wondered if I was doing the right thing, plunging into this pit of human despair and informing myself of things that I might have been happier not knowing. For that reason, I waited 6 months to write this review. This is an important book that deserves reading and the people of the Bloodlands deserve to be remembered in some degree. This book will never set anything right, but it is important that we not forget and forgive the unforgettable and the unforgivable. The narrator told the story, he did not read. His resonant, magisterial voice delivers this impactful story with the solemnity required. He does treat the irony perfectly with voice tones that brings lift to the written word.This is a solid 5-star book, disturbing but richly informing.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This is a book where the characters are somewhat odious and you cannot really say that any of these arch villains are anyone or anybody's favorite. There are no heroes in this book.

    Which scene was your favorite?

    This is really not an appropriate question. All of the book is interesting. None of it lends itself to being a favorite. All that said, I would suggest that the pre World War II saga was quite interesting and informative as the modern Soviet Union and Russia have disappeared this from history.

    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The suffering of the people of the Ukraine. It is impossible for me to comprehend the savagery that they suffered in Stalinization, the German invasion and then improbably the Russian retaking and march west to Poland and Germany. The starvation of the young child and his plaintive murmurings touch the soul.

    Any additional comments?

    You could learn to hate the Soviet Union, Soviet Communism and the Soviet government forever with a clear conscience once you read this book. They were horrifying and cruel beyond imagination. They make Hitler seem unimaginative in the destruction of their own people. You see that WWII was very convenient means for the Soviet Union to create a new narrative and bury the past.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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