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RED FAMINE

STALIN'S WAR ON UKRAINE

An authoritative history of national strife from a highly knowledgeable guide.

A new history of Stalin’s oppressive regime, which led to the death by starvation of nearly 4 million Ukrainians between 1931 and 1934.

Drawing on considerable published scholarship and new archival sources, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Applebaum (Practice/London School of Economics; Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956, 2012, etc.) offers a chilling, dramatic, and well-documented chronicle of a devastating famine. She argues persuasively that the lack of food resulted from a conflation of political, rather than natural, causes: enforced collectivization, confiscation of food, harsh blacklists imposed on farms and villages, trade restrictions, and a “vicious propaganda campaign designed to persuade Ukrainians to watch, unmoved, as their neighbours died of hunger.” Ukraine was especially vulnerable to oppression: “disdain for the very idea of a Ukrainian state had been an integral part of Bolshevik thinking even before the revolution” of 1917; all Russian political parties, Applebaum writes, “shared this contempt” and feared any signs of a Ukrainian national movement. Famine was a scourge in the 1920s, as well; after the outbreak of World War I, a nationalized food distribution system created chaos and shortages. That situation worsened under Stalin’s policy known as “War Communism”: “take control of grain, at gunpoint, and then redistribute it to soldiers, factory workers, party members and others deemed ‘essential’ by the state.” Food was exported, as well, to fund purchases of arms and machinery. Collectivization, which required farmers to give up their land to the Communist state, “destroyed the ethical structure of the countryside as well as the economic order.” When farmers resisted handing over their land and property, collectivization brigades “resorted to outright intimidation and torture.” When farmers refused to hand over grain, they were punished like political dissidents. Stalin’s draconian policies included the elimination of Ukraine’s scholars, writers, and political leaders and the “systematic destruction of Ukrainian culture and memory.” Famine was another form of repression. In her detailed, well-rendered narrative, Applebaum provides a “crucial backstory” for understanding current relations between Russia and Ukraine.

An authoritative history of national strife from a highly knowledgeable guide.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53885-5

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON

THE OSAGE MURDERS AND THE BIRTH OF THE FBI

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Awards & Accolades

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2017


  • New York Times Bestseller


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  • National Book Award Finalist

Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.

During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.

Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Pub Date: April 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-385-53424-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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