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Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine Under Nazi Rule
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Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine Under Nazi Rule

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  41 ratings  ·  4 reviews
If I find a Ukrainian who is worthy of sitting at the same table with me, I must have him shot, declared Nazi commissar Erich Koch. To the Nazi leaders, the Ukrainians were Untermenschen - subhumans. But the rich land was deemed prime territory for Lebensraum expansion. Once the Germans rid the country of Jews, Roma, and Bolsheviks, the Ukrainians would be used to harvest ...more
Hardcover, 463 pages
Published April 15th 2004 by Belknap Press
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Katherine Addison
This is a very difficult and painful book to read because, to put it vulgarly, the people of Ukraine could not catch a fucking break. They go from Stalin and the Terror-Famine to the Nazis, who quite deliberately starved the urban population and generally behaved like, well, Nazis, and at the end of the war, of course, they are doomed to go right back to Stalin; in post-WWII Soviet Ukraine, people were persecuted for having survived the occupation:

Red Army veterans, former partisans, and Soviet
...more
Svetlana Karlin
Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A very comprehensive book on the history of the Reichskommissariat Ukraine. The author diligently portrays the complexities, contradictions and variations across different regions and takes into account the local cultural and national factors, including the violent strife between Polish and Ukrainian nationalists.

This book helped me put into perspective the tidbits of information (or lack of them) I heard from my family. Some of my relatives lived in Poltava area during the Nazi occupation.

The b
...more
Rhuff
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Karel C. Berkhoff has written an outstanding contribution to the 20th century/WW II history of the borderland battleground of the Ukraine. Ordinary life is dissected under an expert historian's scalpel, straightforwardly presenting the gruesome facts of Nazi rule for ordinary people without the need for Robert Conquest's statistical chicanery, or Timothy Snyder's heavy-handed polemics.

I will take issue, though, when Berkhoff quotes German military administrators writing of the locals wishing "fo
...more
Kate
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5

Historian Peter Novick said that writing objective history is like trying to "nail jelly to a wall." Karel Berkhoff has taken up the challenge nonetheless.

Rare for an academic history, Berkhoff has arranged the book in a thematic and narrative style, which makes the book eminently readable (subject matter aside). The multi-ethnic diversity of the Ukraine made their relationship with the Nazis especially complicated--and fascinating. Moreover, Berkhoff's sampling of sources covers at least fiv
...more
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