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Gulag: A History of the Soviet Camps (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 29. April 2004

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  • Taschenbuch: 624 Seiten
  • Verlag: Penguin; Auflage: New Ed (29. April 2004)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0140283102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140283105
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 2,7 x 19,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.7 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (3 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 85.432 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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"An important book. . . . It is fervently to be hoped that people will read Anne Applebaum's excellent, tautly written, and very damning history." --"The New York Times Book Review ""The most authoritative--and comprehensive--account of this Soviet blight ever published by a Western writer." --"Newsweek ""A titanic achievement: learned and moving and profound. . . . No reader will easily forget Applebaum's vivid accounts of the horrible human suffering of the Gulag." --"National Review ""A tragic testimony to how evil ideologically inspired dictatorships can be." -"The New York Times ""Lucid, painstakingly detailed, never sensational, it should have a place on every educated reader's shelves." -"Los Angeles Times ""Magisterial. . . . Certain to remain the definitive account of its subject for years to come. . . . An immense achievement." --"The New Criterion ""An excellent account of the rise and fall of the Soviet labor camps between 1917 and 1986. . . . A splendid book." --"The New York Review of Books ""Should become the standard history of one of the greatest evils of the 20th century." --"The Economist" "Thorough, engrossing . . . A searing attack on the corruption and the viciousness that seemed to rule the system and a testimonial to the resilience of the Russian people. . . . Her research is impeccable." -"San Francisco Chronicle" "An affecting book that enables us at last to see the Gulag whole. . . . A valuable and necessary book." -"The Wall Street Journal" "Ambitious and well-documented . . . Invaluable . . . Applebaum methodically, and unflinchingly, provides a sense of what it was like to enter and inhabit the netherworld of theGulag." -"The New Yorker""[Applebaum's] writing is powerful and incisive, but it achieves this effect through simplicity and restraint rather than stylistic flourish. . . . [An] admirable and courageous book." -"The Washington Monthly" "Monumental . . . Applebaum uses her own formidable reporting skills to construct a gripping narrative." -"Newsday" "Valuable. There is nothing like it in Russian, or in any other language. It deserves to be widely read." -"Financial Times" "A book whose importance is impossible to exaggerate. . . . Magisterial . . . Applebaum's book, written with such quiet elegance and moral seriousness, is a major contribution to curing the amnesia that curiously seems to have affected broader public perceptions of one of the two or three major enormities of the twentieth century." -"Times Literary Supplement" "A truly impressive achievement . . . We should all be grateful to [Applebaum]." -"The Sunday Times" (London) "A chronicle of ghastly human suffering, a history of one of the greatest abuses of power in the story of our species, and a cautionary tale of towering moral significance . . . A magisterial work, written in an unflinching style that moves as much as it shocks, and that glistens with the teeming life and stinking putrefaction of doomed men and rotten ideals." -"The Daily Telegraph "(London) "No Western author until Anne Applebaum attempted to produce a history of the Gulag based on the combination of eyewitness accounts and archival records. The result is an impressively thorough and detailed study; no aspect of this topic escapes her attention. Well written, accessible...enlightening for both the general reader andspecialists." --"The New York Sun""For the raw human experience of the camps, read Solzhenitsyn's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" or Irina Ratushinskaya's "Grey is the Color of Hope," For the scope, context, and the terrible extent of the criminality, read this history." --"Chicago Tribune"


This landmark book uncovers for the first time in detail one of the greatest horrors of the twentieth century: the vast system of Soviet camps that were responsible for the deaths of countless millions. "Gulag" is the only major history in any language to draw together the mass of memoirs and writings on the Soviet camps that have been published in Russia and the West. Using these, as well as her own original research in NKVD archives and interviews with survivors, Anne Applebaum has written a fully documented history of the camp system: from its origins under the tsars, to its colossal expansion under Stalin's reign of terror, its zenith in the late 1940s and eventual collapse in the era of glasnost. It is a gigantic feat of investigation, synthesis and moral reckoning.

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4 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Markus Isch am 22. Juni 2004
Format: Taschenbuch
Anne Applebaums Buch sticht aus der Masse historischer Literatur heraus, weil es sehr lesbar ist und gleichzeitig auch historischen Massstäben genügen wird. Ich wage die Behauptung, dass dieses Buch für Anfänger wie Experten in russischer Geschichte gleichermassen wertvoll gehalten werden kann. Applebaum kann mit sehr viel Feldforschung und Oral History aufwarten, so dass das Buch eigentlich eine neue Etappe in der historischen Aufarbeitung des Gulag-Systems beginnt.
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2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Michael E. am 7. Februar 2013
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Excellent history of the Gulag camps. Everyone interested in Russian history should read it, including Mr Putin. Highly recommended. Buy it!
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1 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von CHRYSSANTHI KOULOCHERI am 9. Oktober 2013
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Die Autorin hat ein enormes Werk hinter sich. Wertvoll ! Mann sollte auch nur die Einfuerung lesen um die ganze Hororgeschichte zu verstehen!
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 174 Rezensionen
209 von 230 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
This Terrific Book WIll Become The Standard Bearer! 4. Juni 2003
Von Barron Laycock - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
With the publication of "The Gulag Archipelago" in the early 1970s, Alexander Solzhenitsyn shocked and dismayed the Western world by masterfully detailing the existence of a horrific shadow culture within the Soviet Union, a culture comprised of a mass society of slave laborers scratching out their bare-knuckled survival in unbelievable difficulty and squalor, and having been recruited into the Gulag for a variety of economic, social, and political reasons. Given the inherent limitations of this superb albeit shocking work, the West had to wait for the fall of the Soviet bloc for a more definitive and more complete treatise on the nature of the Gulag. This new book by scholar-turned-journalist Anne Applebaum represents such a work.

The work is both massive and comprehensive, dealing not only with the ways in which the Gulag came into existence and then thrived under the active sponsorship of Lenin and Stalin, but also with a plethora of aspects of life within the Gulag, ranging from its laws, customs, folklore, and morality on the one hand to its slang, sexual mores, and cuisine on the other. She looks at the prisoners themselves and how they interacted with each other to the relationships between the prisoners and the many sorts of guards and jailers that kept them imprisoned. For what forced the Gulag into becoming a more or less permanent fixture within the Soviet system was its value economically in producing goods and services that were marketable both within the larger Soviet economy as well as in international trade. As it does in China today, forced labor within the Gulag for the Soviets represented a key element in expanding markets for Soviet-made goods ranging from lamps to those prototypically Russian fur hats.

The Gulag came into being as a result of the Communist elite's burning desire for purges of remaining vestiges of bourgeoisie aspects of Soviet culture, and its consequent need for some deep dark hole to stick unlucky cultural offenders into to remove them semi-permanently from the forefront of the Soviet society. Stalin found it useful to expand the uses of the camp system to enhance industrial growth, and the camps became flooded with millions of Soviets found wanting in terms of their ultimate suitability for everyday life in the workers' paradise. Thus, the Gulag flourished throughout the 1920s and 1930s and even through the years of WWII, when slave labor provided an invaluable aid in producing enough war goods to help defeat the Axis powers. By the peak years of Gulag culture in the 1950s, the archipelago stretched into all twelve of the U.S. S. R.'s time zones, although it was largely concentrated in the northernmost and least livable aspects of the country's vast geographical areas.

One of the most interesting and certainly more controversial aspects of the book can be found in its consideration of the relative obscurity with which both the existence and horrors associated with the Gulag has been treated to date. Compared to the much more extensively researched and discussed Holocaust of Europe's Jewish population perpetrated by the Nazi Third Reich over a twelve year period, almost nothing is known about the nearly seventy reign of the Gulag. Given the fairly recent demise of the Soviet state, and the dawning availability of data revealing the particulars of the existence of the Soviet system of political imprisonment, forced labor camps, and summary executions, one expects this massively documented, exhaustively detailed, and memorably written work will serve as the standard in the field for decades to come. This is a terrific book, and one I can heartily recommend to any serious student of 20th century history. Enjoy!
85 von 92 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Monumental Work 14. Juni 2003
Von Bookreporter - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
In 1973, when Alexander Solzhenitsyn launched the first volume of his monumental GULAG ARCHIPELAGO, an oral history of Soviet concentration camps, he expressed concern that a proper history of the camps might never be written, that those who do not wish to recall would destroy all the documents "down to the very last one."
As it happened, however, the documents were not destroyed; they remained locked away in files and archives. Nor did Solzhenitsyn foresee the coming of Mikhail Gorbachev and the advent of glasnost, his policy of openness, much less the unfettered availability of Gulag information and the flood of memoirs by camp survivors.
It was an American Sovietologist-turned-journalist, Anne Applebaum, now a Washington Post columnist, who embraced the unexpected opportunity to undertake this vast and daunting project from which whole universities of ordinary researchers might have slunk away in dismay.
Lenin himself, the founding father of Russian communism, established the first 84 camps of the Soviet Gulag almost immediately after the Russian Revolution, basing their design on tsarist precedents. Lenin's successor, Josef Stalin, presided over the Gulag's development into the far-reaching "archipelago" of which Solzhenitsyn wrote.
Transport to the camps was no less nightmarish in many cases than the camps themselves. Prisoners en route to distant camps are said to have frozen to death even before they were loaded into the cattle cars, where they would sometimes remain crowded together for more than a month. Memoirs tell of trains being stopped to take off corpses, which were thrown into ditches.
The struggle for survival was part of daily life in the camps, the struggle for bits of food, edible but often revolting, and for enough water to sustain life. In many camps, hardened criminals were part of the general population of politicals and other "enemies" who had committed no crime other than happening to have been born into the family of a relatively successful farmer. The criminals stole, murdered and raped as they pleased, often with the passive approval of the guards.
The Gulag's growth continued throughout World War II and into the early 1950s, by which time there were 476 distinct camp complexes comprising thousands of individual camps. The number of prisoners in each camp ranged from hundreds to thousands. From 1929, when the Gulag began its major expansion, until 1953, when Stalin died, some 18 million people passed through the camp system. More than three million of them perished.
Comparatively few of the Gulag prisoners (zeks) had been criminals in the conventional sense of the word. Some of them were arrested because a neighbor had heard them pass along an unfortunate joke or laugh at one, some because they had been seen engaging in "suspicious" behavior, and others were reported for having been ten minutes late for work or owning four cows in a village where other families owned only one. Some were members of a population category --- Poles, Balts, Chechens, Tartars, etc. --- that had suddenly fallen into disfavor. Immigrants were always suspect, as were ordinary Soviet citizens with foreign connections --- stamp collectors, Esperanto enthusiasts, anyone having relatives abroad, or a returned POW. In short, the smallest statistical possibility of guilt was sufficient cause for arrest and conviction.
In 1937, the secret police launched an all-out campaign to extirpate a Polish spy ring allegedly operating in the Soviet Union. The secret police arrest order, which included virtually everyone of Polish background living on Soviet soil, specified that investigation was to begin at the time of arrest, not before, as a means of expediting the process.
This transposition of procedural steps, Applebaum explains, meant the arrestees themselves would be forced to provide the evidence upon which the case against them would be built. More bluntly, she says, they were to be beaten or otherwise tortured until they "confessed" the role they had played in the apparently fictitious spy ring. Their testimony naturally implicated others, who were also arrested and similarly forced to confess whatever acts of espionage they could imagine having committed.
One of the larger questions with which Applebaum grapples is whether the Gulag system developed haphazardly, through simple accretion in response to a need for additional space for prisoners, or as part of an elaborate plan. Was it intended primarily as storage space for undesirable elements in Soviet society, or as an apparatus for collecting slave laborers and putting them to work on projects, such as the White Sea Canal and the opening of the Siberian north?
Scholars disagree, and evidence seems to support both sides. On the one hand, Peter the Great, whom Stalin obsessively admired, used serfs and prison labor to accomplish enormous construction projects at relatively little expense. Planned or not, the Gulag became immensely important as a source of virtually free labor. A Soviet historian has identified a correlation between the successful economic activity of the camps and the number of prisoners sent to them. His book also points out that sentences for petty crime became much harsher at a time when more prison laborers were urgently needed. Another example: In March 1934 the head of the secret police, G.G. Yagoda, wrote to subordinates in Ukraine ordering them to produce 15,000-20,000 prisoners, all fit to work, to help complete work on the Moscow-Volga Canal.
As pure history, GULAG is a major achievement. It also fulfills the moral imperative to expose, document, and record in service to the collective memory the fate of so many millions of human beings torn from their families who suffered and died in hostile places far from their homes. Fittingly, Applebaum's book is dedicated to her predecessors who described what had happened and thereby made possible this monumental work.
--- Reviewed by Hal Cordry
92 von 103 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A difficult, but needed work 11. Mai 2003
Von A reader - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I suspect the definitive history of the Gulag system is still some decades away, and will likely be written by a Russian. Nevertheless, this is a good early survey. The Author brings a journalist's immediacy rather than a historian's depth to the project, and at this point, perhaps that is best. She spent a great deal of effort and time interviewing, searching archives, and reviewing the available memoirs to put together this volume. As the access to the archives seems to be in some question for now, this will likely be the benchmark work in English for some time.
For those who have not experienced the reality of the Soviet system, this is a good introduction. Acronymns and Soviet terms are clearly explained, and kept to a minimum, so a familiarity of Soviet history is not required. This is an accesible account, that will appeal to the general reader, although by no means an easy subject. One complaint, as an American, I was disappointed that the author did not include as a source Polish-American Jesuit Walter Ciszek, who spent 23 years in Stalin's prisons and camps, although the memoirs of American Alexander Dolgun are.
As the author laments, there is still perhaps a certain amount of, if not denial, at least unwillingness by many Russians to delve into this topic. In time, I feel certain that will change. The cold war ended, thankfully, not with a bang, but a wimper. No allied troops marched into Moscow. The Soviet regime collapsed of its own corruption and flawed ideology. The Russians themselves will have to come to grips with the reality of their history. Perhaps this book can be another helpful step in the process.
61 von 68 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Forgotten Past, Not Remembered 2. Juni 2003
Von John G. Cakars - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
As a Latvian, this topic has been an interest of mine since childhood. I grew up hearing about the mass deportations of June 1941. One of the memoirs cited, John Noble's, "I Was a Slave in Russia", 1960, I read at least 40 years ago. I used to have a copy of this book.
Why is this book so important? Because while dignitaries and heads of state visit Auschwitz, no one is visiting Vorkuta, Norlisk, Kolyma and other camps. Putin probably did not tell his esteemed visitors that St. Petersburg was built with bones and rests on bones. Russia has forgotten the past. Russia is ignoring the past. Russia wants the past to go away. Why else is there no official mourning or remembrances? No one mourns for the Gulag innocents in the West. Other than the survivors, no one cares about them in Russia. The author brings this up as an example that the Russia has not learned from its past. "...if we really knew what Stalin did to the Chechens, and if we felt that it was a terrible crime against the Chechen nation, it is not only Vladimir Putnin who would be unable to sit back and watch with any equanimity" page 575.
If the topic of this book were not so serious, then most of what happened sounds like the "theatre of the absurd." For example, the camp administration was "supposed" to take good care of the prisoners. For the camps were an "economic" asset to the State. However, the author points out that there was no incentive, for the most part, to make sure inmates did not die. There was an "official" written policy. Then there was what really happened.
I hope I am still alive, if and when the rest of the Gulag archives are opened. I am sending this book to Latvia.
22 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The suffocating awfulness of the Soviet system revealed 20. Juli 2004
Von Michael Gebert - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
The debate over which was worse-- Hitler's regime or Stalin's-- is sterile and often obscene, as it counts the dead by the millions to score partisan points. But as I read Gulag, I found it hard not to think that the Soviet system was the greater horror-- yes, Nazism and the Holocaust were more bloodthirsty, more obviously Satanic, but the compensating factor is that after a certain delay the world roused itself to destroy it. Evil was recognized and stopped, after a while. Where the Gulag, and the state for which the Gulag was merely all principles taken to their logical conclusion, was allowed to run for decades as if it were a rational system--a system which still has its apologists and even admirers.

The central feature of the Gulag is its utter utilitarianism-- if it was easier for wave after wave after prisoners to dig uranium with bare hands and be replaced as they died of radiation poisoning, it was done that way. Unlike with the Nazis, the policy wasn't explicitly to work people to death, but the policies that did exist accepted working them to death as a natural by-product and of no consequence. Academics and undergraduates who think industrial capitalism "dehumanizes" the worker should read this just to see how deeply dehumanizing an industrial system in non-democratic societies can truly become; they simply have no idea. The flip side of all that is that because the Soviet system was so dictatorial, so riddled with fear (it was easy enough for camp officials to become prisoners the next day, and even the reverse was not unknown), it was a completely incompetent and corrupt system incapable of accomplishing even a fraction of what it was supposed to do. Canals were dug at heroic and tragic cost where they were completely unnecessary (and remain unused to this day). Criminal gangs ran the prisons. Children were taken to orphanages and who their parents were was lost in the paperwork. Mass graves were filled with the unknown dead who, given the nature of the frozen tundra, are still being spat up by the ground, preserved but nameless, to this day.

It is impossible to read Gulag and not feel that these horrors were the inevitable consequences of the Soviet system; the gulag was not an aberration of Marxism-Leninism but rather the end to which all its philosophy and practices naturally and inescapably led.
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