Red Famine: Book summary and reviews of Red Famine by Anne Applebaum

Red Famine

Stalin's War on Ukraine

by Anne Applebaum

Red Famine by Anne Applebaum

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Book Summary

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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. An authoritative history of national strife from a highly knowledgeable guide." - Kirkus

"Applebaum's revisionist historiography may serve her concluding claims against Vladimir Putin's aggressions today, but it doesn't stand up to deep scrutiny." - Publishers Weekly

"This book will appeal to readers interested in Ukrainian history, Soviet policies, and the current Ukrainian-Russian conflict." - Library Journal

"A magisterial and heartbreaking history of Stalin's Ukrainian famine." - Simon Sebag Montefiore, London Evening Standard

"Anne Applebaum's Red Famine - powerful, relentless, shocking, compelling - will cement her deserved reputation as the leading historian of Soviet crimes." - Daniel Finkelstein, The Times (London)

The information about Red Famine shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Anne Applebaum Author Biography

Photo: Anne Applebaum

Anne Applebaum was born in 1964, and was educated at Sidwell Friends School before earning a BA at Yale. Anne went on to earn a Masters Degree at the London School of Economics, before moving to Warsaw, Poland in 1988 as a correspondent for The Economist, where she met her husband, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski. In 1992, Applebaum won the Charles Douglas-Home Memorial Trust award for journalism in the ex-Soviet Union.

Anne is currently a columnist for The Washington Post and Slate. Her previous book, Gulag, won the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction and was a finalist for three other major prizes. Her essays appear in The New York Review of Books, Slate, and The London Spectator.

Anne lives in Washington, D.C., and Poland with her husband and their two sons.

... Full Biography
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