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Other titles in the Annals of Communism series:
The History of the Gulag: From Collectivization To the Great Terror (Annals of Communism)by Oleg V. Khlevniuk
Synopses & ReviewsPlease note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.
The human cost of the Gulag, the Soviet labor camp system in which millions of people were imprisoned between 1920 and 1956, was staggering. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and others after him have written movingly about the Gulag, yet never has there been a thorough historical study of this unique and tragic episode in Soviet history. This groundbreaking book presents the first comprehensive, historically accurate account of the camp system. Russian historian Oleg Khlevniuk has mined the contents of extensive archives, including long-suppressed state and Communist Party documents, to uncover the secrets of the Gulag and how it became a central component of Soviet ideology and social policy.
Khlevniuk argues persuasively that the Stalinist penal camps created in the 1930s were essentially different from previous camps. He shows that political motivations and paranoia about potential enemies contributed no more to the expansion of the Gulag than the economic incentive of slave labor did. And he offers powerful evidence that the Great Terror was planned centrally and targeted against particular categories of the population. Khlevniuk makes a signal contribution to Soviet history with this exceptionally informed and balanced view of the Gulag.
"Annals of Communism, Yale's acclaimed series, adds another major documentary history to its list. More than 100 documents from the Russian archives are translated, and interspersed with Russian historian Khlevniuk's extensive analysis. The result is a fascinatingly detailed depiction of that horrific symbol of the 20th century, the Soviet prison camp system. Khlevniuk argues that the gulag as it developed from 1929 was a new creation, a specifically Stalinist invention. He weaves together personal accounts by victims with the far more numerous documents written by Soviet bureaucrats. The documents provide surprises and revelations. In the early years, prisoners petitioned and went on strike for improvements in their conditions, sometimes successfully. Officials wrote innumerable memoranda documenting the abysmal food supplies and sanitary conditions and the excessive brutalities of camp guards. At the same time, production derived from forced labor became a major element of the Soviet economy. Attempts to ameliorate the camp situation were thwarted by the ineptitude of the Soviet bureaucracy and the severe crises of the 1930s. Khlevniuk demonstrates how every tightening of the overall political situation, such as the onset of forced collectivization and then the Great Terror, led to a worsening of conditions within the camps. Ultimately, the camps were 'almost [the] direct reflection' of the Soviet system and the outcome of decisions made by Stalin and a small group around him. This is an excellent companion to Anne Applebaum's Pulitzer-winning Gulag: A History. 39 illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Oleg V. Khlevniuk is senior researcher at the State Archive of the Russian Federation, Moscow.
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