Best Anne Applebaum books
Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956
Best price for this book: $ 11.4
TIME Magazine's #1 Nonfiction Book of 2012
A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post Top Ten Book of 2012
Best Nonfiction of 2012: The Wall Street Journal, The Plain Dealer
In the much-anticipated follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning Gulag, acclaimed journalist Anne Applebaum delivers a groundbreaking history of how Communism took over Eastern Europe after World War II and transformed in frightening fashion the individuals who came under its sway. Iron Curtain describes how, spurred by Stalin and his secret police, the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created and what daily life was like once they were complete. Drawing on newly opened East European archives, interviews, and personal accounts translated for the first time, Applebaum portrays in chilling detail the dilemmas faced by millions of individuals trying to adjust to a way of life that challenged their every belief and took away everything they had accumulated. As a result the Soviet Bloc became a lost civilization, one whose cruelty, paranoia, bizarre morality, and strange aesthetics Applebaum captures in these electrifying pages.
Gulag: A History
Best price for this book: $ 10
The Gulag--a vast array of Soviet concentration camps that held millions of political and criminal prisoners--was a system of repression and punishment that terrorized the entire society, embodying the worst tendencies of Soviet communism. Applebaum intimately re-creates what life was like in the camps and links them to the larger history of the Soviet Union. Immediately recognized as a landmark and long-overdue work of scholarship, Gulag is an essential book for anyone who wishes to understand the history of the twentieth century.
Between East and West: Across the Borderlands of Europe
Best price for this book: $ 11.52
An extraordinary journey into the past and present of the lands east of Poland and west of Russia—an area defined throughout its history by colliding empires. Traveling from the former Soviet naval center of Kaliningrad on the Baltic to the Black Sea port of Odessa, Anne Applebaum encounters a rich range of competing cultures, religions, and national aspirations.
In reasserting their heritage, the inhabitants of the borderlands attempt to build a future grounded in their fractured ancestral legacies. In the process, neighbors unearth old conflicts, devote themselves to recovering lost culture, and piece together competing legends to create a new tradition. Rich in surprising encounters and vivid characters, Between East and West brilliantly illuminates the soul of the borderlands and the shaping power of the past.
From a Polish Country House Kitchen: 90 Recipes for the Ultimate Comfort Food
Best price for this book: $ 25
Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine
Best price for this book: $ 24.97
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.
Gulag Voices: An Anthology (Annals of Communism Series)
Best price for this book: $ 14.35
Anne Applebaum wields her considerable knowledge of a dark chapter in human history and presents a collection of the writings of survivors of the Gulag, the Soviet concentration camps. Although the opening of the Soviet archives to scholars has made it possible to write the history of this notorious concentration camp system, documents tell only one side of the story. Gulag Voices now fills in the other half.
The backgrounds of the writers reflect the extraordinary diversity of the Gulag itself. Here are the personal stories of such figures as Dmitri Likhachev, a renowned literary scholar; Anatoly Marchenko, the son of illiterate laborers; and Alexander Dolgun, an American citizen. These remembrances—many of them appearing in English for the first time, each chosen for both literary and historical value—collectively spotlight the strange moral universe of the camps, as well as the relationships that prisoners had with one another, with their guards, and with professional criminals who lived beside them.
A vital addition to the literature of this era,annotated for a generation that no longer remembers the Soviet Union, Gulag Voices will inform, interest, and inspire, offering a source for reflection on human nature itself.
Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror
Best price for this book: $ 22
Brought up in comfort and with a passion for hunting and fishing, chess, and the English classics, Lenin was radicalized after the execution of his brother in 1887. Sebestyen traces the story from Lenin's early years to his long exile in Europe and return to Petrograd in 1917 to lead the first Communist revolution in history. Uniquely, Sebestyen has discovered that throughout Lenin's life his closest relationships were with his mother, his sisters, his wife, and his mistress. The long-suppressed story told here of the love triangle that Lenin had with his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, and his beautiful, married mistress and comrade, Inessa Armand, reveals a more complicated character than that of the coldly one-dimensional leader of the Bolshevik Revolution.
With Lenin's personal papers and those of other leading political figures now available, Sebestyen gives is new details that bring to life the dramatic and gripping story of how Lenin seized power in a coup and ran his revolutionary state. The product of a violent, tyrannical, and corrupt Russia, he chillingly authorized the deaths of thousands of people and created a system based on the idea that political terror against opponents was justified for a greater ideal. An old comrade what had once admired him said that Lenin "desired the good . . . but created evil." This included his invention of Stalin, who would take Lenin's system of the gulag and the secret police to horrifying new heights.
In Lenin, Victor Sebestyen has written a brilliant portrait of this dictator as a complex and ruthless figure, and he also brings to light important new revelations about the Russian Revolution, a pivotal point in modern history.
(With 16 pages of black-and-white photographs)
Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941
Best price for this book: $ 22
In 1929, Joseph Stalin, having already achieved dictatorial power over the vast Soviet Empire, formally ordered the systematic conversion of the world’s largest peasant economy into “socialist modernity,” otherwise known as collectivization, regardless of the cost.
What it cost, and what Stalin ruthlessly enacted, transformed the country and its ruler in profound and enduring ways. Building and running a dictatorship, with life and death power over hundreds of millions, made Stalin into the uncanny figure he became. Stephen Kotkin’s Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941 is the story of how a political system forged an unparalleled personality and vice versa.
The wholesale collectivization of some 120 million peasants necessitated levels of coercion that were extreme even for Russia, and the resulting mass starvation elicited criticism inside the party even from those Communists committed to the eradication of capitalism. But Stalin did not flinch. By 1934, when the Soviet Union had stabilized and socialism had been implanted in the countryside, praise for his stunning anti-capitalist success came from all quarters. Stalin, however, never forgave and never forgot, with shocking consequences as he strove to consolidate the state with a brand new elite of young strivers like himself. Stalin’s obsessions drove him to execute nearly a million people, including the military leadership, diplomatic and intelligence officials, and innumerable leading lights in culture.
While Stalin revived a great power, building a formidable industrialized military, the Soviet Union was effectively alone and surrounded by perceived enemies. The quest for security would bring Soviet Communism to a shocking and improbable pact with Nazi Germany. But that bargain would not unfold as envisioned. The lives of Stalin and Hitler, and the fates of their respective dictatorships, drew ever closer to collision, as the world hung in the balance.
Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941 is a history of the world during the build-up to its most fateful hour, from the vantage point of Stalin’s seat of power. It is a landmark achievement in the annals of historical scholarship, and in the art of biography.
Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin
Best price for this book: $ 13.42