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Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956 | [Anne Applebaum]

Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956

At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union to its surprise and delight found itself in control of a huge swath of territory in Eastern Europe. Stalin and his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to Communism, a completely new political and moral system. In Iron Curtain, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum describes how the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created and what daily life was like once they were complete.
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Publisher's Summary

In the long-awaited follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag, acclaimed journalist Anne Applebaum delivers a groundbreaking history of how Communism took over Eastern Europe after World War II and transformed in frightening fashion the individuals who came under its sway.

At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union to its surprise and delight found itself in control of a huge swath of territory in Eastern Europe. Stalin and his secret police set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to Communism, a completely new political and moral system. In Iron Curtain, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anne Applebaum describes how the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created and what daily life was like once they were complete. She draws on newly opened East European archives, interviews, and personal accounts translated for the first time to portray in devastating detail the dilemmas faced by millions of individuals trying to adjust to a way of life that challenged their every belief and took away everything they had accumulated. Today the Soviet Bloc is a lost civilization, one whose cruelty, paranoia, bizarre morality, and strange aesthetics Applebaum captures in the electrifying pages of Iron Curtain.

©2012 Anne Applebaum (P)2012 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"So much effort is spent trying to understand democratization these days, and so little is spent trying to understand the opposite processes. Anne Applebaum corrects that imbalance, explaining how and why societies succumb to totalitarian rule. Iron Curtain is a deeply researched and eloquent description of events which took place not long ago and in places not far away - events which contain many lessons for the present." (Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World)

"Iron Curtain is an exceptionally important book which effectively challenges many of the myths of the origins of the Cold War. It is wise, perceptive, remarkably objective and brilliantly researched." (Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad and The Second World War)

"This dramatic book gives us, for the first time, the testimony of dozens of men and women who found themselves in the middle of one of the most traumatic periods of European history. Anne Applebaum conveys the impact of politics and ideology on individual lives with extraordinary immediacy." (Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire and A World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Tom SCHWENKSVILLE, PA, United States 06-10-13
    Tom SCHWENKSVILLE, PA, United States 06-10-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "overbearing"
    What disappointed you about Iron Curtain?

    I felt I didn’t get anything that I didn’t already get in her book Gulag. Also I found myself getting a little bothered like she was trying to convince me of something instead of history’s story of what happened. Also I thought it was a little obnoxious her view on how technology will become tools of control in the future. I don’t know…maybe too much of her personality coming through in the book. Which maybe that’s a good thing but not for me. She also didn’t reveal very much things from thr Russian side of things and how they must have viewed the war.


    What was most disappointing about Anne Applebaum’s story?

    See above


    Did Cassandra Campbell do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    I had no problem with the person reading the story


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Iron Curtain?

    her view on how technology will become tools of control in the future.


    Any additional comments?

    It just rubbed me the wrong way I guess when I really liked her "Gulag"

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate the Great Shawnee OK 02-25-13
    Nate the Great Shawnee OK 02-25-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Those that do not learn from history..."
    Would you listen to Iron Curtain again? Why?

    Are we doomed to repeat it? The importance of the subject makes it worth the time investment. I wish it was part of everyone's education.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The frightening insights into state-ism. There really is no difference between them and any other group of fanatics who believe that their worldview should be forced on others, and the unbelievers should be shot. I learned a lot. I understand their mindset / paradigm better now.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George T. Merriman Whitewater, WI, United States 01-02-13
    George T. Merriman Whitewater, WI, United States 01-02-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Back to the glorious fifties!"
    Where does Iron Curtain rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    and to the 1940s too. One of the more interesting books that this former student of political science has read (listened to) in recent memory.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Iron Curtain?

    Seeing examples of how some people made it through this period relatively intact (most didn't).


    Which character – as performed by Cassandra Campbell – was your favorite?

    I was most interested by the people of East Germany -- because I speak German -- but the events in Hungary and Poland were also of interest to me.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, it was too long for that.


    Any additional comments?

    I learned that I have a lot to learn about eastern European life behind the Iron Curtain.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JoAnn Westminster, CO, United States 12-04-12
    JoAnn Westminster, CO, United States 12-04-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Too long to really enjoy"

    I am a great fan of history and thought this one would be a good listen after hearing the author interviewed on NPR. Unfortunately for me there are just too many details and it starts getting boring after awhile. I found myself skipping through because I wanted it to be done.

    5 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Fellheimer NARBERTH, PA, US 08-08-13
    Alan Fellheimer NARBERTH, PA, US 08-08-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Far too detailed to be enjoyable - boring"
    Would you try another book from Anne Applebaum and/or Cassandra Campbell?

    No. I think this book was boring. Too much detail and not enough story


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Zealot


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    Listenable


    Could you see Iron Curtain being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Far too detailed and bounces around far too much to be enjoyable

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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