Synopses & Reviews
Of the numerous histories devoted to Stalin's reign of terror, there is a remarkable story as yet untold. It begins with the incongruous image of America's oldest pastime baseball being played deep behind the Iron Curtain, and ends with the tragic deaths of thousands of Americans caught up in a madman's paranoia. In The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia documentary film-maker and journalist Tim Tzouliadis unveils in riveting detail and with exquisite research the story of how thousands of Americans, at the height of the Great Depression, were lured to Soviet Russia by the promise of jobs and better lives, only to meet a tragic, and until now forgotten, end. The book begins with a photograph of a baseball team in Gorky Park; the year is 1934. The young men are in their late teens and early twenties, they hail from working families all across America - Detroit, Boston, New York, San Francisco. With the hope of building Ford motor cars in the USSR, they left the joblessness and hopelessness of home as political idealists, and very quickly ended up as the victims of one of the very worst periods of mass terror in modern history. Within four years of when that photo was taken, many of the young men, their wives and children, would be arrested, their passports confiscated, and along with unaccounted numbers of Soviet citizens, imprisoned, tortured, or simply executed. Some would be sent to corrective labor camps, starved and worked to death, their bodies buried in the snowy wasteland. Two of the baseball players would survive, and their stories frame the book.
" The horror that was Stalinist Russia is still incomprehensible to many Americans . . . Reading this book is certain to open their eyes."
-Richard Pipes, The New York Sun
" Gripping and important . . . an extremely impressive book."
-Noel Malcolm, Telegraph (London)
" Tzouliadis's clear, strong narrative discloses the terrible fates which awaited those . . . who wandered into the Soviet sphere. . . . [A] grim, brilliantly told story."
A remarkable piece of forgotten history- the never-before-told story of Americans lured to Soviet Russia by the promise of jobs and better lives, only to meet tragic ends
In 1934, a photograph was taken of a baseball team. These two rows of young men look like any group of American ballplayers, except perhaps for the Russian lettering on their jerseys. The players have left their homeland and the Great Depression in search of a better life in Stalinist Russia, but instead they will meet tragic and, until now, forgotten fates. Within four years, most of them will be arrested alongside untold numbers of other Americans. Some will be executed. Others will be sent to "corrective labor" camps where they will be worked to death. This book is the story of lives-the forsaken who died and those who survived.
Based on groundbreaking research, The Forsaken is the story of Americans whose dreams were shattered and lives lost in Stalinist Russia.
About the Author
Born in Athens, Timotheos Tzouladis was raised in England. A graduate of Oxford, he subsequently pursued a career as a documentary filmmaker and television journalist whose work has appeared on NBC and National Geographic television. He lives in London.