General Resources

Tribute to Liberty's sole purpose is the construction and erection of a monument to the victims of communism. Those wishing to obtain information about the impact of communism will find certain information on the listed websites and resources, which are not affiliated with Tribute to Liberty.

Gulag: A History
Applebaum, Anne
Doubleday, 2003

The Gulag entered the world’s historical consciousness in 1972, with the publication of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s epic oral history of the Soviet camps, The Gulag Archipelago. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, dozens of memoirs and new studies covering aspects of that system have been published in Russia and the West. Using these new resources as well as her own original historical research, Anne Applebaum has now undertaken, for the first time, a fully documented history of the Soviet camp system, from its origins in the Russian Revolution to its collapse in the era of glasnost. It is an epic feat of investigation and moral reckoning that places the Gulag where it belongs: at the center of our understanding of the troubled history of the twentieth century.

Anne Applebaum first lays out the chronological history of the camps and the logic behind their creation, enlargement, and maintenance. The Gulag was first put in place in 1918 after the Russian Revolution. In 1929, Stalin personally decided to expand the camp system, both to use forced labor to accelerate Soviet industrialization and to exploit the natural resources of the country's barely habitable far northern regions. By the end of the 1930s, labor camps could be found in all twelve of the Soviet Union's time zones. The system continued to expand throughout the war years, reaching its height only in the early 1950s. From 1929 until the death of Stalin in 1953, some 18 million people passed through this massive system. Of these 18 million, it is estimated that 4.5 million never returned.

But the Gulag was not just an economic institution. It also became, over time, a country within a country, almost a separate civilization, with its own laws, customs, literature, folklore, slang, and morality. Topic by topic, Anne Applebaum also examines how life was lived within this shadow country: how prisoners worked, how they ate, where they lived, how they died, how they survived. She examines their guards and their jailers, the horrors of transportation in empty cattle cars, the strange nature of Soviet arrests and trials, the impact of World War II, the relations between different national and religious groups, and the escapes, as well as the extraordinary rebellions that took place in the 1950s. She concludes by examining the disturbing question why the Gulag has remained relatively obscure, in the historical memory of both the former Soviet Union and the West. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

With God in Russia
Ciszek, Walter J.
Ignatius Press, 1997

Father Walter Ciszek, S.J., author of the best-selling He Leadeth Me, tells here the gripping, astounding story of his twenty-three years in Russian prison camps in Siberia, how he was falsely imprisoned as an "American spy," the incredible rigors of daily life as a prisoner, and his extraordinary faith in God and commitment to his priestly vows and vocation. He said Mass under cover, in constant danger of death. He heard confession of hundreds who could have betrayed him; he aided spiritually many who could have gained by exposing him.

This is a remarkable story of personal experience. It would be difficult to write fiction that could honestly portray the heroic patience, endurance, fortitude and complete trust in God lived by Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine
Conquest, Robert
Oxford University Press, 1987

The Harvest of Sorrow is the first full history of one of the most horrendous human tragedies of the 20th century. Between 1929 and 1932 the Soviet Communist Party struck a double blow at the Russian peasantry: dekulakization, the dispossession and deportation of millions of peasant families, and collectivization, the abolition of private ownership of land and the concentration of the remaining peasants in party-controlled "collective" farms. This was followed in 1932-33 by a "terror-famine," inflicted by the State on the collectivized peasants of the Ukraine and certain other areas by setting impossibly high grain quotas, removing every other source of food, and preventing help from outside—even from other areas of the Soviet Union—from reaching the starving populace. The death toll resulting from the actions described in this book was an estimated 14.5 million—more than the total number of deaths for all countries in World War I.

Ambitious, meticulously researched, and lucidly written, The Harvest of Sorrow is a deeply moving testament to those who died, and will register in the Western consciousness a sense of the dark side of this century's history. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

The Great Terror: A Reassessment
Conquest, Robert
Oxford University Press, 2007 (originally published in 1968)

The definitive work on Stalin's purges, Robert Conquest's The Great Terror was universally acclaimed when it first appeared in 1968.

When Conquest wrote the original volume, he relied heavily on unofficial sources. With the advent of glasnost, an avalanche of new material became available, and Conquest mined this enormous cache to write, in 1990, a substantially new edition of his classic work, adding enormously to the detail. Both a leading historian and a highly respected poet, Conquest blends profound research with evocative prose, providing not only an authoritative account of Stalin's purges, but also a compelling and eloquent chronicle of one of this century's most tragic events. He provides gripping accounts of everything from the three great "Moscow Trials," to methods of obtaining confessions, the purge of writers and other members of the intelligentsia, life in the labor camps, and many other key matters.

This volume, featuring a new preface by Conquest, rounds out the picture of this huge historical tragedy, further establishing the book as the key study of one of the twentieth century’s most lethal, and longest-misunderstood, offenses against humanity. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Reflections on a Ravaged Century
Conquest, Robert
W. W. Norton & Company, 2001

Robert Conquest has been called by Paul Johnson "our greatest living modern historian." As a new century begins, Conquest offers an illuminating examination of our past failures and a guide to where we should go next. Graced with one of the most acute gifts for political prescience since Orwell, Conquest assigns responsibility for our century’s cataclysms not to impersonal economic or social forces but to the distorted ideologies of revolutionary Marxism and National Socialism. The final, sobering chapters of Reflections on a Ravaged Century concern themselves with some coming storms, notably that of the European Union, which Conquest believes is an economic, cultural, and geographical misconception divisive of the West and doomed to failure. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Slovenia 1945: Memories of Death and Survival After World War II
Corsellis, John and Marcus Ferrar
I. B. Tauris, 2005

In May 1945, the British Army in Austria put 12,000 Slovene soldiers on board trains. The Slovenes thought they were on their way to freedom in Italy. Their true destination was Slovenia, and death. "Slovenia 1945" follows the fate of Slovene anti-Communists who fled to Austria at the end of World War II. The British Army sent them back home, where their war-time enemies, Tito's Partisans, put them to death. Six thousand civilians narrowly escaped the same fate, after intervention by British Red Cross and Quaker aid workers. Based on moving interviews with survivors, the story follows the massacre of the soldiers, the survivors' tough years in refugee camps and triumph in making new lives in Argentina, the USA, Canada and Britain. The book recounts how deeply issues of wartime collaboration and the Communist domination of the Partisan movement divide Slovenes today. (From description on book’s web site.)

The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression
Courtois, Stéphane and Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panné, AndrzejPaczkowski, Karel Bartosek, and Jean-Louis Margolin
Harvard University Press, 1999

Already famous throughout Europe, this international bestseller plumbs recently opened archives in the former Soviet bloc to reveal the actual, practical accomplishments of Communism around the world: terror, torture, famine, mass deportations, and massacres. Astonishing in the sheer detail it amasses, the book is the first comprehensive attempt to catalogue and analyze the crimes of Communism over seventy years.

"Revolutions, like trees, must be judged by their fruit," Ignazio Silone wrote, and this is the standard the authors apply to the Communist experience—in the China of "the Great Helmsman," Kim Il Sung's Korea, Vietnam under "Uncle Ho" and Cuba under Castro, Ethiopia under Mengistu, Angola under Neto, and Afghanistan under Najibullah. The authors, all distinguished scholars based in Europe, document Communist crimes against humanity, but also crimes against national and universal culture, from Stalin's destruction of hundreds of churches in Moscow to Ceausescu's leveling of the historic heart of Bucharest to the widescale devastation visited on Chinese culture by Mao's Red Guards.

As the death toll mounts—as many as 25 million in the former Soviet Union, 65 million in China, 1.7 million in Cambodia, and on and on—the authors systematically show how and why, wherever the millenarian ideology of Communism was established, it quickly led to crime, terror, and repression. An extraordinary accounting, this book amply documents the unparalleled position and significance of Communism in the hierarchy of violence that is the history of the twentieth century. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924
Figes, Orlando
Penguin, 1998

It is history on an epic yet human scale. Vast in scope, exhaustive in original research, written with passion, narrative skill, and human sympathy, A People's Tragedy is a profound account of the Russian Revolution for a new generation. Many consider the Russian Revolution to be the most significant event of the twentieth century. Distinguished scholar Orlando Figes presents a panorama of Russian society on the eve of that revolution, and then narrates the story of how these social forces were violently erased. Within the broad stokes of war and revolution are miniature histories of individuals, in which Figes follows the main players' fortunes as they saw their hopes die and their world crash into ruins. Unlike previous accounts that trace the origins of the revolution to overreaching political forces and ideals, Figes argues that the failure of democracy in 1917 was deeply rooted in Russian culture and social history and that what had started as a people's revolution contained the seeds of its degeneration into violence and dictatorship. A People's Tragedy is a masterful and original synthesis by a mature scholar, presented in a compelling and accessibly human narrative. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
Figes, Orlando
Picador, 2008

The Whisperers is a triumphant act of recovery. In this powerful work of history, Orlando Figes chronicles the private history of family life during the violent and repressive reign of Josef Stalin. Drawing on a vast collection of interviews and archives, The Whisperers re-creates the anguish of family members turned against one another—of the paranoia, alienation, and treachery that poisoned private life in Russia for generations. A panoramic portrait of a society in which everyone spoke in whispers, The Whisperers is "rigorously compassionate. . . . A humbling monument to the evil and endurance of Russia's Soviet past and, implicitly, a guide to its present"—The Economist. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

From the Gulag to the Killing Fields: Personal Accounts of Political Violence and Repression in Communist States
Hollander, Paul
Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2007

s a global phenomenon, the scale and character of Communism is only now coming into focus. The opening of formerly inaccessible archives and landmark books such as The Black Book of Communism have helped to establish empirically the extent and brutality of Communist totalitarianism. But what about Communist terror as it was personally experienced by the dissidents, the so-called obstructionists who stood in the way of the Communists’ efforts to create the new man of the socialist utopia?

From the Gulag to the Killing Fields is another landmark volume—and the only one of its kind. Edited by renowned scholar of Communism Paul Hollander, it gathers together more than forty dramatic personal memoirs of Communist violence and repression from political prisoners across the globe. From these compelling accounts several distinctive features of Communist political violence can be discerned. The most important, argues Hollander, is that Communism was "violence with a higher purpose"—that is, it was devised and undertaken to create a historically superior social system that would not only abolish scarcity, exploitation, and inequality, but would also create a new and unique sense of community, social solidarity, and personal fulfillment.

Nothing, of course, was allowed to stand in the way of this effort to radically and totally transform the human condition—least of all human beings. But, as Anne Applebaum notes in her foreword, human nature persisted: "Every person who entered the camps discovered qualities in themselves, both good and evil, that they hadn’t previously known they had. Ultimately, that self-discovery is the true subject of most camp memoirs, and the true subject of this book." (From description on publisher’s web site.)

The History of the Gulag: From Collectivization to the Great Terror (Annals of Communism Series)
Khlevnyuk, Oleg V.
Yale University Press, 2004

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. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

The Russian Revolution
Pipes, Richard
Vintage, 1991

The Russian Revolution is ground-breaking in its inclusiveness and enthralling in its narrative of a movement whose purpose, in the words of Leon Trotsky, was "to overthrow the world." Richard Pipes argues convincingly that the Russian Revolution was an intellectual, rather than a class, uprising; that it was steeped in terror from its very outset; and that it was not a revolution at all but a coup d'etat—"the capture of governmental power by a small minority." (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Communism: A History
Pipes, Richard
Modern Library, 2003

With astonishing authority and clarity, Richard Pipes has fused a lifetime’s scholarship into a single focused history of Communism, from its hopeful birth as a theory to its miserable death as a practice. At its heart, the book is a history of the Soviet Union, the most comprehensive reorganization of human society ever attempted by a nation-state. This is the story of how the agitation of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, two mid-nineteenth-century European thinkers and writers, led to a great and terrible world religion that brought down a mighty empire, consumed the world in conflict, and left in its wake a devastation whose full costs can only now be tabulated. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937-1949
Pohl, J. Otto
Praeger, 1999

Between 1937 and 1949, Joseph Stalin deported more than two million people of 13 nationalities from their homelands to remote areas of the U.S.S.R. His regime perfected the crime of ethnic cleansing as an adjunct to its security policy during those decades. Based upon material recently released from Soviet archives, this study describes the mass deportation of these minorities, their conditions in exile, and their eventual release. It includes a large amount of statistical data on the number of people deported; deaths and births in exile; and the role of the exiles in developing the economy of remote areas of the Soviet Union.

The first wholesale deportation involved the Soviet Koreans, relocated to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to prevent them from assisting Japanese spies and saboteurs. The success of this operation led the secret police to adopt, as standard procedure, the deportation of whole ethnic groups suspected of disloyalty to the Soviet state. In 1941, the policy affected Soviet Finns and Germans; in 1943, the Karachays and Kalmyks were forcibly relocated; in 1944, the massive deportation affected the Chechens, Ingush, Balkars, Crimean Tatars, Crimean Greeks, Meskhetian Turks, Kurds, and Khemshils; and finally, the Black Sea Greeks were moved in 1949 and 1950. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire
Remnick, David
Vintage, 1994

In the tradition of John Reed's classic Ten Days That Shook the World, this bestselling account of the collapse of the Soviet Union combines the global vision of the best historical scholarship with the immediacy of eyewitness journalism. “An engrossing and essential addition to the human and political literature of our time"—The New York Times. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Fear No Evil: The Classic Memoir of One Man's Triumph Over a Police State
Sharansky, Natan
Public Affairs, 1998

Fear No Evil is the classic, inspiring memoir of a political dissident—a man whose fierce spirit and drive for freedom triumphed over imprisonment, solitary confinement, the Soviet Union, and Communism itself.

Since Fear No Evil was originally published in 1988, the Soviet government that imprisoned Sharansky has collapsed. But the truths Sharansky learned in his jail cell and sets forth in this book have timeless importance so long as rulers anywhere on earth still suppress their own peoples. For anyone with an interest in human rights—and anyone with an appreciation for the resilience of the human spirit—he illuminates the weapons with which the powerless can humble the powerful: physical courage, an untiring sense of humor, a bountiful imagination, and the conviction that "Nothing they do can humiliate me. I alone can humiliate myself." (From description on publisher’s web site.)

The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror
Sharansky, Natan with Ron Dermer
Public Affairs, 2006

The Case for Democracy is a passionate, controversial argument against compromises on the road to freedom, by the renowned former dissident, human rights activist and Jewish leader Natan Sharansky.

Natan Sharansky believes that the truest expression of democracy is the ability to stand in the middle of a town square and express one's views without fear of imprisonment. He should know. A dissident in the USSR, Sharansky was jailed for nine years for challenging Soviet policies. During that time he reinforced his moral conviction that democracy is essential to both protecting human rights and maintaining global peace and security.

Drawing on a lifetime of experience of democracy and its absence, Sharansky believes that only democracy can safeguard the well-being of societies. For Sharansky, when it comes to democracy, politics is not a matter of left and right, but right and wrong. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

The Gulag Archipelago
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr
Basic Books, 1997 or Harper Collins, 2007 (originally published in 1974)

The Gulag Archipelago is Solzhenitsyn’s attempt to compile a literary-historical record of the vast system of prisons and labor camps that came into being shortly after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in 1917 and that underwent an enormous expansion during the rule of Stalin from 1924 to 1953. Various sections of the three volumes describe the arrest, interrogation, conviction, transportation, and imprisonment of the Gulag’s victims by Soviet authorities over four decades. The work mingles historical exposition and Solzhenitsyn’s own autobiographical accounts with the voluminous personal testimony of other inmates that he collected and committed to memory during his imprisonment. Upon publication of the first volume of The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn was immediately attacked in the Soviet press. Despite the intense interest in his fate that was shown in the West, he was arrested and charged with treason on February 12, 1974, and was exiled from the Soviet Union the following day. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

The Forsaken
Tzouliadis, Timotheos
Penguin, 2008

The Forsaken is 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. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Cannibal Island: Death in a Siberian Gulag
Werth, Nicholas
Princeton University Press, 2007

During the spring of 1933, Stalin's police rounded up nearly one hundred thousand people as part of the Soviet regime's "cleansing" of Moscow and Leningrad and deported them to Siberia. Many of the victims were sent to labor camps, but ten thousand of them were dumped in a remote wasteland and left to fend for themselves. Cannibal Island reveals the shocking, grisly truth about their fate.

These people were abandoned on the island of Nazino without food or shelter. Left there to starve and to die, they eventually began to eat each other. Nicolas Werth, a French historian of the Soviet era, reconstructs their gruesome final days using rare archival material from deep inside the Stalinist vaults. Werth skillfully weaves this episode into a broader story about the Soviet frenzy in the 1930s to purge society of all those deemed to be unfit. For Stalin, these undesirables included criminals, opponents of forced collectivization, vagabonds, gypsies, even entire groups in Soviet society such as the "kulaks" and their families. Werth sets his story within the broader social and political context of the period, giving us for the first time a full picture of how Stalin's system of "special villages" worked, how hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens were moved about the country in wholesale mass transportations, and how this savage bureaucratic machinery functioned on the local, regional, and state levels. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia
Yakovlev, Alexander
Yale University Press, 2002

The main architect of the concept of perestroika under Gorbachev, Alexander N. Yakovlev played a unique role in the transformation of the Soviet Union. Drawing on his own experiences and on his privileged access to state and Party archives, he reflects on the evils of the system that shaped the country he loves. (From description on publisher’s web site.)