Gulag: A History
Her book was precisely what I needed. She presents a very systematic explanation of the gulags in three sections: 1) the historical precedents prior to Stalin's regime and the rise of their power under Stalin; 2) Day-to-day life in the gulags; and 3) the dismantling ...more
Anne Applebaum tells the story of the gulag in fascinating detail, using newly available Soviet archives and published and unpublished memoirs from those who survived the camps. Their stories are chilling, to say the least.
In the Introduction, Applebaum discusses the differences and similarities between the Nazi death camps and the Soviet camps. ...more
The vastness of the Gulag is astounding. From small camps to giant and from city prisons to tents in Siberia and all sizes in between. The variety of work that was required was also quite extensive, from manufacturing to logging to mining to channel building.
With the quality of life that prisoners had to endure and how unprepared both they and their captures were I am surprised t ...more
Gelukkig weer een boek uitgelezen (de stapel naast mijn bureau wordt alleen maar hoger, niet lager): het schokkend indrukwekkende “Gulag” van Anne Applebaum. Ik weet dat de dingen die in het boek staan grotendeels echt gebeurd zijn, maar het leest weg als een Kafka-esque beschrijving van de Inferno.
Het is bizar hoe normaal corruptie, marteling, diefstal en moord toen waren. Hoe normaal het was om mensen te reduceren tot minder dan mensen, tot objecten. D...more
I think it's a good attempt at trying to approach a historical era from the point of view of the victims, rather than the perpetrators, but it also shows how difficult that is to carry off. I'm still waiti ...more
“an enemy of the people is not only one who commits sabotage, but one who doubts the rightness of the Party line.”... women were arrested as “wives of enemies of the people” and the same applied to children.
Page 241 Vladimir Bukovsky
“In our camps, you were expected not only to be a slave laborer, but to sing and smile while you worked as well. They didn’t just want to oppress us; they wanted us to thank them for it.”
This is a book that is horrific in scope ...more
Out of all the things that stood out in this book, one thought in particular kept coming to my mind. The prisoners who worked the hardest were offered greater benefits (which weren't really fabulous, but most certainly, the differe ...more
Applebaum used innumerable memoirs to help tell her story, and although I sometimes felt that perhaps I was reading too much of the stories of a small set of people ("him again?"), most of the people who died in or passed through the Gulag did not tell their stories and we have to let those who ...more
This quote sums it up: "The more we are able to understand how different societies have transformed their neighbors and fellow citizens from people into objects, the more we know of the specific circumstances which led to each episode of mass torture a ...more
That said, though, it's a fascinating look at a hugely significant part of twentieth-century world history that almost nobody really knows about. I think it's fair to say th ...more
In a chapter ...more
prison camps that sprang up shortly after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, then eventually dissolved after the death of Josef Stalin in 1953.
Author Anne Applebaum breaks the whole story down by category, starting with arrest (one could
find oneself sentenced to ten years or more for merely overhearing a joke about Stalin), transit,
back-breaking work, starvation rations, eventual releas ...more
The book is very detailed, chronicling the founding and often illogical reasons that Lenin and Stalin's regimes had for wanting to incarcerate such a large prison system, most of which were essentially very inefficient slave-lab ...more
She is married to Radosław Sikorski, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs. They have two children, Alexander and Tadeusz.