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. The majority of these deaths occurred in Eastern Europe, not Germany.
In the groundbreaking long-view style of Tony Judt and Niall Ferguson, Tim Snyder, one of America’s foremost historians of Eastern Europe, has written a new history of Europe that focuses on the battleground of Eastern Europe, which suffered the worst crimes of Hitler and Stalin. Based upon scholarly literature and primary sources in all of the relevant languages, Bloodlands pays special attention to the sources left by those who were killed: the letters home, the notes flung from trains, the diaries found on corpses.
This is a new kind of European history, one more concerned with suffering than with intention, one that recognizes how stories of progress or victory have excluded the most salient human experience, and one focused on the extreme predicament of the tens of millions of Europeans who found themselves between Hitler and Stalin.
The scale of destruction in the lands between Germany and Russia has eluded historians and baffles the cynicism of our new century, but for these very reasons, Bloodlands offers the way forward to a sensible reconstruction of European history. Ultimately, in Snyder’s matchless telling, the German and Soviet regimes appear not so much as totalitarian twins, but as rivals whose ruthless pursuit of similar goals doomed millions of innocents.
©2010 Timothy Snyder (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"A chillingly systematic study of the mass murder mutually perpetrated by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany…. A significant work of staggering figures and scholarship." (Kirkus)
“This is a book which will force its readers to rethink history.” (Norman Davies)
“History of a high order, Bloodlands may also point us towards lessons for our own time.” (Timothy Garton Ash)
Yes, if they like the History Eastern Europe and Hitler and Stalin's impact on the area.
Mao-The Untold Story. It has a lot of the same tragedy but in a different location.
If you are interested in the impact of Stalin and Hitler on the area between Russia and Germany and the devastation wrought on these people you'll like this book. It gives a different perspective to WWII and the early Cold War era. It gives more ammunition to the discrediting of Communism and Fascism. Not uplifting but powerful.
definitely my best audible experience so far. so much has been forgotten or not reported in the u.s. about stalin's famine in the ukraine and poland compared to all we know about hitler's misdeeds.
fluid delivery and compassion for the people afflicted by the tyranny.
horror, incredulity made me cry.
This is a part of our modern history of which we have almost no understanding. This book documents those underlying events that most historians bypass or gloss over. Unfortunately that author crosses his own path several times in the book with the effect of extending the the story to the point that I felt I was listening to the same events told from several angles. The end result was that I have been unable to finish this importand piece of history; perhaps another day.
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.
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