Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine, 1921-1933” as Want to Read:
Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine, 1921-1933
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine, 1921-1933

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,389 ratings  ·  216 reviews
From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag and the National Book Award finalist Iron Curtain, a revelatory history of one of Stalin's greatest crimes

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 famin
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Signal
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Red Famine, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Ksenia What is the point of your accusatory question? She did state that there was, a famine all over (an unnatural famine) but Stalin had an agenda to crush…moreWhat is the point of your accusatory question? She did state that there was, a famine all over (an unnatural famine) but Stalin had an agenda to crush Ukraine and thus enacted specific policies that killed a disproportionately large amount of Ukrainians. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,389 ratings  ·  216 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing

"It is strictly forbidden to bury people here." -outskirts of Kharkiv, 1933

This is not the first original volume in English on what is now called the Holodomor, also called the 'Terror-Famine'. That would be Robert Conquest's study, 'The Harvest of Sorrow', which saved it from sliding down the memory hole. While that first book was seminal in its time, this new study builds on it with archival research, new memoirs, further testimonies, (and the work of a small army of Ukrainian historians), now
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vine
Although this book is about the ‘Holodomor’ (the word is derived from the Ukrainian words, ‘holod’ or ‘hunger’ and ‘mor’ or extermination) or famine of 1932-33, it is actually about much more than that. It is about the repression of the Ukrainian intellectual and political class, of the Sovietisation of Ukraine, the collectivisation of agriculture and the attempts to wipe out Ukrainian culture and language.

Ironically, it was the fertile soil and relatively mild climate of Ukraine, which led to
Oct 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ann Applebaum does not disappoint. A thorough account of the most terrifying times in the history of Ukraine. Superb panorama and the background. Ms Applebaum presents us with not just the several years of the famine itself but also explains in detail the reasons behind the tragedy of millions of innocent people. The Author colleced accounts by ordinary people, and some are truly horryfing, making us aware of the fact that often our own suffering makes us immune to the suffering of others.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-general
In Red Famine, the author, Anne Applebaum, does an extremely good job of explaining just what happened in 1931-'34 when an estimated 3.9 million people starved to death and why. Starting with the Russian Civil War that followed World War I, the author looks at the Ukrainian desire for independence and why Ukraine had never been able to obtain that independence. She looks at the Bolsheviks' strategy to subdue the Ukraine and keep it part of Russia and by extension the USSR.

While discussing Ukrai
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, russian
Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum is the history of Russian-Ukranian relations from 1917- 1934 centering on Russian atrocities. Applebaum is an American journalist and Pulitzer Prize–winning author who has written extensively about communism and the development of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe. She is a visiting Professor of Practice at the London School of Economics, where she runs Arena, a project on propaganda and disinformation. She has also been an editor a ...more
This book has two interrelated themes - Ukraine’s path toward independence and the famine that occurred there 1932-1933.The history of Ukraine and Russia must be viewed together, and so the Bolshevik Revolution, the Civil War that followed, first Lenin’s and then Stalin’s reign are discussed too. The book starts in 1917 and concludes in the present. The famine that occurred 1921-1922, and for which international aid was given, came to be followed by the Great Famine of 1932-1933. The latter fami ...more

The Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомор); derived from морити голодом, "to kill by starvation"), also known as the Terror-Famine and Famine-Genocide in Ukraine, and—before the widespread use of the term "Holodomor", and sometimes currently—also referred to as the Great Famine, and The Ukrainian Genocide of 1932–33—was a man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that killed an officially estimated 7 million to 10 million people. It was part of the wider Soviet famine of 1932–33, which affe
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wrenching and thorough account of the way Stalin created the famine that killed easily 3.5 million Ukrainians, and maybe far more. The eyewitness testimonies of the starvation are devastating. The last chapter is an especially interesting discussion of where the famine fits in the history of Genocide. For anyone interested in the history of the first decades of the Soviet Union, this is a must-read.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Red Famine – Stalin’s War on Ukraine

As someone from a Polish family who before the Second World War lived in the Kresy (East Poland now in Ukraine) it has always surprised me how little of this war against Ukraine and her people is not widely known in the West. My Grandfather often used it as an example of how evil Stalin was in the way he allowed policy, to kill people and relieve him of a troublesome part of the country of its affluence.

As a child, he lived in Podwołoczyska, a border town on t
Данило Судин
на цю книгу рецензію написати важко. наразі, як на мене, це найповніший виклад передумов та перебігу Голодомору. вона написана нещодавно - в 2017 р. і містить інформацію про найновіші дослідження Голодомору.
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Anne Applebaum's Red Famine is an important history of the Ukraine (and USSR by default). Applebaum provides meaningful context beginning with the 1917 Ukrainian Revolution, famine of the 1920s, Stalin's agricultural collectivation policies of the late 1920s and early 1930s, and Ukrainian nationalist sentiment and peasant resistance prior to focusing on the terror famine known as the Holodomor occurring between 1932 and 1934. Holodomor is a term derived from two Ukrainian words for hunger and ex ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Frankly, I don’t care whether we can call Holodomor a genocide or not. What I do care about is for people to remember and recognize that 4.5 million Ukrainians were killed purposefully by the Soviet State. I want people to know that “the elimination of Ukraine’s elite in the 1930s – the nation’s best scholars, writers and political leaders as well as its most energetic farmers – continues to matter.”

This is an incredibly well written and documented narrative about one of the most tragic but hid
Owlseyes on notre dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and...
Sep 07, 2017 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: communism lovers
Recommended to Owlseyes on notre dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and... by: those who didnt forget
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Superb authoritative examination of the famine in the Ukraine. Meticulously researched, detailed, accessible and often shocking, this is essential reading for anyone interested in Ukraine and Russia, the relationship between the two countries and the current tense situation.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book on a really horrible subject - the famine in the Ukraine in the early 1930s (1932-33 in particular). The argument is that this was not just a matter of bad luck for the millions who died but a matter of murderous state policy on the part of the USSR towards the population of Ukraine - that this was a case of genocide in its original general meaning. Given the history of the Ukraine having resisted the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War and having resisted collectivizati ...more
Michał Józef Gąsior
Na sam początek warto wspomnieć, że nie jest to książka o tragedii, lecz książka historyczna. Nie jest to zbiór wspomnień i relacji, lecz pozycja mająca na celu wyjaśnić kontekst, przebieg i konsekwencje Hołodomoru aż do dnia obecnego. Jak dla mnie, jest to w dużej mierze wstęp do poznania najnowszej historii Ukrainy i piętna jakie wywarł wielki głód na ukraińskim społeczeństwie. Zawiera świetne wprowadzenie, które pomaga zrozumieć procesy jakie doprowadziły do tych wydarzeń i które kształtowały ...more
A.L. Sowards
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I’ve read by Applebaum, and I’m impressed. It’s not a happy book, but it’s an important book, covering a state-created famine that killed around four million people in Ukraine in the 1930s. The deaths weren’t caused by a drought, but by forced collectivization of farms, then a Soviet plan to export grain to gain foreign currency, then a series of confiscations that left peasants with nothing to eat. The deaths are tragic, made even more so by the malice behind Soviet polic ...more
Jonathan Kidd
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Important book
Oct 14, 2017 added it
Shelves: russian-history
Parking this one for the moment....... may come back to it but for now now really keeping my attention.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
(You know, I told myself that Ravensbrück was all I could take this year in terms of "people being awful to people," but here we are.)

I had a two "good" history teachers in high school, Mr. Munsen and Mr. Ostlund. You know how you'll hear on the radio "American students can't find [insert country or physical geographical feature here] on a map"? Mr. Munsen World History I students could find every country on Earth. The book Lies My Teacher Told Me? I found out that Mr. Ostlund had filled in the
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book needed to be written, and it needs to be read. Actually, I feel it should be required reading. Especially if you chose to or are required to read The Communist Manifesto, this book should be your immediate follow-up read. The former describes ideal communism; the latter describes the realities of communist policies and dictators. A book about horrible people committing horrible atrocities against other people, it was both heart-wrenching and eye-opening.

Applebaum’s style is straightfo
Roman Baiduk
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For me, as a person whose relatives suffered in this disaster, it was very difficult to read this book. But it is necessary to read such studies. To remind yourself of the evil that is possible in this world. How a totalitarian regime can justify any cruelty, normalize the killing of millions of people in the name of a certain ideology. To remind yourself of this, so that you never let this happen again.
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, that was depressing. I don't recall this being taught in school and wasn't aware it had happened. An engaging look at a terrible subject.
R.F. Gammon
Nov 02, 2018 marked it as dnf
I will come back to this one someday, but for right now, it's too raw, too difficult.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, 2017
As a student of history, (my dissertation was on the factors behind the collapse of the USSR) I had not before come across a book that dealt specifically with not only the 1933 Famine in Ukraine, but also behind Stalin and the Bolshevik's obsession with destroying any lingering notion of Ukraine nationality and national identity. There have been books dedicated to the famine in Russia, and other parts of the Soviet Union, but not one that focuses explicitly on Ukraine. The trove of new informati ...more
Abhi Gupte
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Anne Applebaum methodically builds up the story of the Holodomor. The first few chapters are a confusing mass of rebellions and reprisals. You reach a point where you can't understand what exactly was going on in Ukraine after the October Revolution, when you suddenly land at the start of the famine in 1932- and then it all makes sense. All the "little" things that led up to the famine and why the Ukrainian people could do nothing but starve. You are transposed to the countryside and you feel th ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a well laid out book that covers a very large and important piece of Russian and Ukranian history . It is very compelling reading and I think would be an invaluable book for those who want to know more regarding this area.

I know very little about the Ukraine and the atrocities that were committed upon it and it’s people. I have vague memories from very generalised history lessons at school as a teenager. But now, after reading this account of events, I am aware of the depths people have
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very insightful book, specifically due to highly vivid and thorough description of the pre-history starting from 1917 and the reasons which led to the famine. Last chapter is the must-read to all contemporary ukrainians
Jan Chlapowski Söderlund
* * * * - I really liked this book.

Anne Appelbaum has written a gripping tale of a horrific human disaster, where (possibly) more people died than in the Nazi holocaust. This was the Holodomor, where Stalin wanted to extinguish the will to resist foreign powers of the Ukrainians.

A.A. first gives a succinct review of Ukraine's history, all the way back to Medieval times. In a matter-of-fact way, which nicely adds depth to the Holodomor itself. The following graphic portrayal of the event itself
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Please add page number for this edition 9780385538855 5 16 Nov 03, 2017 10:31PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Great Terror: A Reassessment
  • The Lords Of The Golden Horn: From Suleiman The Magnificent To Kamal Ataturk
  • My Tibetan Childhood: When Ice Shattered Stone
  • Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within
  • Muscle for the Wing
  • The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Stalin: Waiting for Hitler 1929-1941
  • Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him
  • Conversations with Stalin
  • The Invention of Russia: From Gorbachev's Freedom to Putin's War
  • Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine
  • A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924
  • The Crime and the Silence: Confronting the Massacre of Jews in Wartime Jedwabne
  • The Commissar Vanishes:  The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin's Russia
  • Twilight of American Sanity: A Psychiatrist Analyzes the Age of Trump
  • The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars
  • Big Chief Elizabeth: The Adventures and Fate of the First English Colonists in America
See similar books…
Journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has written extensively about communism and the development of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe. Since 2006, she is a columnist and member of the editorial board of the Washington Post.
She is married to Radosław Sikorski, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs. They have two children, Alexander and Tadeusz.

“But within those numbers, there are other stories. For one, the statistics show a sharp and notable drop in life expectancy over 1932–4, across a wide range of groups. Before 1932, urban men had a life expectancy at birth of 40 to 46 years, and urban women 47 to 52 years. Rural men had a life expectancy of 42 to 44 years, and rural women 45 to 48 years. By contrast, Ukrainian men born in 1932, in either the city or countryside, had an average life expectancy of about 30. Women born in that year could expect to live on average to 40. For those born in 1933, the numbers are even starker. Females born in Ukraine in that year lived, on average, to be eight years old. Males born in 1933 could expect to live to the age of five.6 These” 1 likes
“With the rest of my generation, I firmly believed that the ends justified the means. Our great goal was the universal triumph of Communism, and for the sake of the goal everything was permissible—to lie, to steal, to destroy hundreds of thousands and even millions of people, all those who were hindering our work or could hinder it, everyone who stood in the way. And to hesitate or doubt about all this was to give in to “intellectual squeamishness” and “stupid liberalism,” the attributes of people who “could not see the forest for the trees.”15” 1 likes
More quotes…