2003 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction
2003 J. Anthony Lukas Prize for nonfiction
2002 National Book Critics Circle Award for general nonfiction
Synopses & Reviews
A New Yorker
“Beckerman recounts the historic trajectory of this grand assertion of human rights with passionate clarity and pellucid conviction.”—Cynthia Ozick
AT THE END OF WORLD WAR II, NEARLY THREE MILLION JEWS WERE TRAPPED INSIDE THE SOVIET UNION. They lived a paradox—unwanted by a repressive Stalinist state, yet forbidden to leave. When They Come for Us, Well Be Gone is the astonishing and inspiring story of their rescue. Drawing on newly released Soviet government documents and hundreds of interviews, Beckerman shows how the movement led to a mass exodus in 1989 and forced human rights into the center of American foreign policy. In cinematic detail, this multigenerational saga, filled with suspense and revelations, provides an essential missing piece of Cold War and Jewish history.
“Fresh, surprising and exceedingly well-researched.”—Anne Applebaum, Washington Post Best Nonfiction 2010
“A riveting work of reporting and a magisterial history of one of the twentieth centurys great dramas of liberation.”—Commentary
"Nothing less than a masterwork of contemporary journalism....Extraordinary....An angry, brilliant, fiercely useful, absolutely essential book." The New Republic
"The emotional force of Power's argument is carried by moving, sometimes almost unbearable stories of the victims and survivors of such brutality....This is a well-researched and powerful study that is both a history and a call to action." Publishers Weekly
"A well-reasoned argument for the moral necessity of halting genocide wherever it occurs, and an unpleasant reminder of our role in enabling it, however unwittingly." Kirkus Reviews
A Problem from Hell is a path-breaking interrogation of the last century of American history. Samantha Power poses a question that haunts our nation's past: Why do American leaders who vow "never again" repeatedly fail to marhsal the will and the might to stop genocide? She provides the answer in the form of the suspenseful story of courageous individuals who risked their careers and lives in an effort to get the United States to act. Drawing upon exclusive interviews with Washington's top policymakers, access to thousands of pages of newly declassified documents, and her own reporting from the modern killing fields, Power shows how those who urged U.S. action were thwarted again and again by ignorance, indifference, and, above all, a failure of imagination.
In this pathbreaking interrogation of the last century of American history, Samantha Power draws upon declassified cables, private papers, exclusive interviews with Washington's top policy-makers, and her own reporting from the modern killing fields to tell the story of American indifference and American courage in the face of the worst massacres of the 20"th" century.
Power shows how and why Americans have rarely marshaled their might to stop genocide. She tells the suspenseful story of those who risked their careers and lives in an effort to get the U.S. to live up to the promise of "never again." By paying particular attention to the last 30 years of world carnage, Power shows how the lessons of the Holocaust can co-exist with an American diplomatic and military policy of inaction. "A Problem from Hell" makes a riveting case for why, as both great power and global citizen, we must renew our vigilance against genocide.
Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize For General Nonfiction National Book Critics Circle Award Winner
In her award-winning interrogation of the last century of American history, Samantha Power -- a former Balkan war correspondent and founding executive director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy -- asks the haunting question: Why do American leaders who vow "never again" repeatedly fail to stop genocide? Drawing upon exclusive interviews with Washington's top policy makers, access to newly declassified documents, and her own reporting from the modern killing fields, Power provides the answer in "A Problem from Hell" -- a groundbreaking work that tells the stories of the courageous Americans who risked their careers and lives in an effort to get the United States to act.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -597) and index.
At the end of World War II, nearly three million Jews were trapped inside the Soviet Union. They lived a paradoxunwanted by a repressive Stalinist state, yet forbidden to leave. When They Come for Us, Well Be Gone
is the astonishing and inspiring story of their rescue. Drawing on newly released Soviet government documents, as well as hundreds of oral interviews, Gal Beckerman shows not only how the movement led to a mass exodus in 1989, but also how it gave the American Jewish community a renewed sense of spiritual purpose and taught it to flex its political muscle. In cinematic detail, this multi-generational saga, filled with suspense and packed with revelations, provides an essential missing piece of Cold War and Jewish history.
The untold story of the twenty-five-year struggle to free Soviet Jews, drawing on newly released Soviet government documents as well as hundreds of oral interviews, and told from the perspective of the individuals on the frontlines.
About the Author
Samantha Power teaches human rights and U.S. foreign policy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she was the founding executive director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. From 1993 to 1996 Power reported on the wars in the former Yugoslavia for the Boston Globe, The Economist,and The New Republic: Moving from Inspiration to Impact.Born in 1970, Power immigrated to the United States from Ireland at the age of nine. She is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, and she lives in Winthrop, Massachusetts.