Resources By Country

General Resource

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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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 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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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 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 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 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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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.)


Stay Alive, My Son
Yathay, Pin
Cornell University Press, 2000

A harrowing account of life in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge and particularly the evacuations of Phnom Penh, written by an engineer for the Ministry of Public Works. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Survival in the Killing Fields
Ngor, Haing
Basic Books, 2003

“Nothing has shaped my life as much as surviving the Pol Pot regime. I am a survivor of the Cambodian holocaust. That's who I am," says Haing Ngor. And in his memoir, Survival in the Killing Fields, he tells the gripping and frequently terrifying story of his term in the hell created by the communist Khmer Rouge. Like Dith Pran, the Cambodian doctor and interpreter whom Ngor played in an Oscar-winning performance in The Killing Fields, Ngor lived through the atrocities that the 1984 film portrayed. Like Pran, too, Ngor was a doctor by profession, and he experienced firsthand his country's wretched descent, under the Khmer Rouge, into senseless brutality, slavery, squalor, starvation, and disease—all of which are recounted in sometimes unimaginable horror in Ngor's poignant memoir. Since the original publication of this searing personal chronicle, Haing Ngor's life has ended with his murder, which has never been satisfactorily solved. In an epilogue written especially for this new edition, Ngor's coauthor, Roger Warner, offers a glimpse into this complex, enigmatic man's last years—years that he lived "like his country: scarred, and incapable of fully healing." (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Cambodia, 1975-1978
Jackson, Karl
Princeton University Press, 1992

One of the most devastating periods in twentieth-century history was the rule of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge over Cambodia. From April 1975 to the beginning of the Vietnamese occupation in late December 1978, the country underwent perhaps the most violent and far-reaching of all modern revolutions. These six essays search for what can be explained in the ultimately inexplicable evils perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge. Accompanying them is a photo essay that provides shocking visual evidence of the tragedy of Cambodia's autogenocide. (From description on publisher’s web site.)


Life and Death in Shanghai
Cheng, Nien
Penguin, 1988

In August 1966 a group of Red Guards ransacked the home of Nien Cheng. Her background made her an obvious target for the fanatics of the Cultural Revolution: educated in London, the widow of an official of Chiang Kaishek's regime, and an employee of Shell Oil, Nien Cheng enjoyed comforts that few of her compatriots could afford. When she refused to confess that any of this made her an enemy of the state, she was placed in solitary confinement, where she would remain for more than six years. Life and Death in Shanghai is the powerful story of Nien Cheng's imprisonment, of the deprivation she endured, of her heroic resistance, and of her quest for justice when she was released. It is the story, too, of a country torn apart by the savage fight for power Mao Tse-tung launched in his campaign to topple party moderates. An incisive, rare personal account of a terrifying chapter in twentieth-century history, Life and Death in Shanghai is also an astounding portrait of one woman's courage. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Hungry Ghosts
Becker, Jasper
Henry Holt and Company, 1998

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Chinese people suffered what may have been the worst famine in history. Over thirty million perished in a grain shortage brought on not by flood, drought, or infestation, but by the insanely irresponsible dictates of Chairman Mao Ze-dong's "Great Leap Forward," an attempt at utopian engineering gone horribly wrong.

Journalist Jasper Becker conducted hundreds of interviews and spent years immersed in painstaking detective work to produce Hungry Ghosts, the first full account of this dark chapter in Chinese history. In this horrific story of state-sponsored terror, cannibalism, torture, and murder, China's communist leadership boasted of record harvests and actually increased grain exports, while refusing imports and international assistance. "Mr. Becker's remarkable book...strikes a heavy blow against willed ignorance of what took place."—The New York Times (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Bitter Winds: A Memoir of My Years in China's Gulag
Wu, Harry
Wiley, 1993

A searing eyewitness account of what life was like in the prison camps of China during the 1960s and 1970s—through the rise of the Cultural Revolution and the Red Brigade, the death of Mao to the struggles of post-Maoist China. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Prisoner of Mao
Ruo-Wang, Bao (Jean Pasqualini)
Out of Print

“Prisoner of Mao is a harrowing account of life in China's vast apparatus of prisons and labor camps, describing how Chinese authorities used psychological techniques to coerce the innocent and the guilty into submission. It also reveals how thin the line between survival and starvation became during China's famine in the early 1960's.”—The New York Times


Unvanquished: Cuba's Resistance to Fidel Castro
Encinosa, Enrique G.
Pureplay Press, 2004

Unvanquished is the first history in English on the resistance Cubans have waged against Castro's regime. This carefully documented narrative by a veteran historian allows the story to unfold in participants' own words. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Against All Hope: A Memoir of Life in Castro's Gulag
Valladares, Armando
Encounter Books, 2001

Against All Hope is Armando Valladares’ account of over twenty years in Fidel Castro’s tropical gulag. Arrested in 1960 for being philosophically and religiously opposed to communism, Valladares was not released until 1982, by which time he had become one of the world’s most celebrated “prisoners of conscience.” Interned all those years at the infamous Isla de Pinos prison (from whose windows he watched the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion), Valladares suffered endless days of violence, putrid food and squalid living conditions, while listening to Castro’s firing squads eliminating “counter revolutionaries” in the courtyard below his cell. Valladares survived by prayer and by writing poetry whose publication in Europe brought his case to the attention of international figures such as French President Francois Mitterand and to human rights organizations whose constant pressure on the Castro regime finally led to his release. When Against All Hope first appeared, it was immediately compared to Darkness at Noon and other classic prison narratives about the resilience of the human spirit in the face of totalitarianism. (From description on publisher’s web site.)


Goli Otok: Hell in the Adriatic
Zoretic, Josip
Virtual Book Worm Publishing, 2007

Goli Otok - Hell in the Adriatic is one man's story of life, death, escape, and punishment in post-World War II Yugoslavia. The man was Josip Zoretic and the setting is Goli Otok, the "Naked Island" prison camp in the Adriatic Sea. The story is straightforward and brutally frank in its descriptions of day-to-day life on the island-prison. Alexander Solzhenitsyn gave a similar picture in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich about life in the Gulags of the Soviet Union. This book brings light to the other gulags in the former Yugoslavia and puts to rest once and for all the myth of "Communism with a Human Face." (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Operation Slaughterhouse
Prcela, John and Stanko Guldescu
Dorrance, 1970

The atrocities and horrors perpetrated by the Nazi's and Japanese are well known and documented. Equally abhorrent, but far less well known, are the barbaric actions committed by the Allies, particularly in the aftermath of the war when power was being consolidated and centralized by the new Eastern European regimes. In Yugoslavia, the anti-communist Croat population became the victims of one of the most vicious peacetime purges in the annals of western civilization. Operation Slaughterhouse relates, through a series of eyewitness accounts, the horrible suffering of the entire Croatian nation endured at the hands of Yugoslav Partisans. The widespread and indiscriminate slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents marks the history of then Communist-dominated Yugoslavia, whose rivers and fields were tainted by mutilated Croatian corpses, both military and civilian. That these genocidal horrors went on without a world-wide outcry of protest is largely that the Americans were unaware of these horrors because the postwar Western press was only concerned with the ignominy of its conquered adversaries—and because the victors in any war are never accused of committing "atrocities." Operation Slaughterhouse is a monument of testimony to those voiceless times and forgotten victims—and an antidote to the observation that those who forget history, are themselves doomed to repeat it.—Midwest Book Review

In Tito s Death Marches and Extermination Camps
Hecimovic, Joseph
Carlton, 1962

Czech & Slovakian

The Prague Spring and its Aftermath: Czechoslovak Politics, 1968-1970
Williams, Kieran
Cambridge University Press, 1997

The Prague Spring of 1968 was among the most important episodes in postwar European politics—one of the few pre-Gorbachev attempts to reform one-party communist rule. In this book Kieran Williams analyzes the attempt at reform under Alexander Dubcek and its suppression by the Soviet Union, using archive materials and other sources that have become available in the wake of the 1989 revolution. The book will provide new information for specialists as well as introductory analysis and narrative for students of East European politics and history and Soviet foreign policy. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Open Letters: Selected Writings, 1965-1990
Havel, Vaclav
Viking, 1992

Spanning twenty-five years, this historic collection of writings shows Vaclav Havel's evolution from a modestly known playwright who had the courage to advise and criticize Czechoslovakia's leaders to a newly elected president whose first address to his fellow citizens begins, "I assume you did not propose me for this office so that I, too, would lie to you." Some of the pieces in Open Letters, such as "Dear Dr. Husak" and the essay "The Power of the Powerless," are by now almost legendary for their influence on a generation of Eastern European dissidents; others, such as some of Havel's prison correspondence and his private letter to Alexander Dubcek, appear in English for the first time. All of them bear the unmistakable imprint of Havel's intellectual rigor, moral conviction, and unassuming eloquence, while standing as important additions to the world's literature of conscience. (From description on publisher’s web site.)


War in the Woods
Laar, Mart
The Compass Press, 1992

With the Soviet reoccupation after World War II, Estonians faced a choice of submitting to Communist puppets or trying to survive in the traditional refuge of their forests while waiting for help from the West which never came. Those who chose the second course, Estonia's "Forest Brothers," mounted an armed resistance which, for more than a decade, seriously challenged Soviet rule. This is their story, told for the first time by sources within Estonia. This account is drawn from interviews with Forest Brothers who survived and relatives of those who died, and from documents and photographs from Soviet KGB files. It reflects Estonian courage and humor, the faith and sacrifice of a people suppressed, and the indomitable determination of a free nation to regain independence. (Description from

The Way it Was
Kultas-Ilinsky, Heli-Kristy
Trafford Publishing, 2008

Exiled at four years of age to Siberia by Soviet authorities after the occupation of Estonia during World War II, in their process of what is now called ethnic cleansing, the author finds herself in the bitter harshness of the barren and frigid region, where she and her mother, along with many others, were destined for extermination. Witness to the suffering and death of helpless women and children, including her younger brother, nearly losing her mother to encephalitis, and herself going through hunger and disease, she miraculously survives. Her life unfolds in the remote parts of the vast Soviet Union, continues in postwar Estonia, follows in post-Stalinist Moscow during the period of the ‘thaw,’ where she manages to obtain an excellent education and launches a successful scientific carrier in academia while she cares for tragically ill mother, and then starts again from scratch in America. The book provides a fascinating eyewitness account of the cruelties and absurdities of daily life under a totalitarian regime where terror and fear is a way of life and ‘food for soul’—arts and literature—substitute for real nourishment and other real life necessities. It’s a story of a tragedy, endurance, and luck with a happy ending. (From description on publisher’s web site.)


A Frozen Hell: The Russo-Finnish Winter War of 1939-1940
Trotter, William
Algonquin Books, 2000

In 1939, tiny Finland waged war—the kind of war that spawns legends—against the mighty Soviet Union, and yet their epic struggle has been largely ignored. Guerrillas on skis, heroic single-handed attacks on tanks, unfathomable endurance, and the charismatic leadership of one of this century's true military geniuses—these are the elements of both the Finnish victory and a gripping tale of war. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

The White Death: The Epic of the Soviet-Finnish Winter War
Chew, Allen F.
Michigan State University Press, 2002

The 105-day war between Finland and the Soviet Union in the winter of 1939-1940 has been overshadowed by the larger conflicts of the Second World War, which followed closely after it. The courageous resistance of the only neighbor of Stalin's Russia, which fought the Red Army and survived as a free and independent nation merits this closer look. Although the diplomatic background of the Winter War has been covered before, this is the first substantial English-language study of its dramatic military encounters. (From description on publisher’s web site.)


Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
Funder, Anna
Text Publishing, 2003

Truth can be stranger—and more fascinating—than fiction. Anna Funder tells extraordinary stories from the underbelly of the most perfected surveillance state of all time, the former East Germany.

Funder meets Miriam, the sixteen-year-old who might have started World War III. She visits the regime's cartographer, obsessed to this day with the Berlin Wall, then gets drunk with the legendary 'Mik Jegger' of the east, once declared by the authorities 'no longer to exist'. And she finds spies and Stasi men, still loyal to the Firm as they wait for the next revolution.

Stasiland is a lyrical, at times funny account of the courage some people found to withstand the dictatorship, and the consequences for those who collaborated. Funder explores the daily chaos and harsh beauty of Berlin, a place where some people are trying to remember, and others just as hard to forget. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans
De Zayas, Alfred-Maurice
Palgrave MacMillan, 1994

The genocidal barbarism of the Nazi forces has been well documented. What is little known is the fate of fifteen million German civilians who found themselves on the wrong side of new postwar borders. All over Eastern Europe, the inhabitants of communities that had been established for many centuries were either expelled or killed. Over two million Germans did not survive. Some of these people had supported Hitler, but the great majority were guiltless. In A Terrible Revenge, de Zayas describes this horrible retribution. (From description on publisher’s web site.)


Explosion: The Hungarian Revolution of 1956
Matthews, John P. C.
Hippocrene Books, 2007

The definitive account of one of the largest spontaneous, leaderless revolutions the world has ever seen — tragically crushed by the Soviet Union in 1956.

Triggered by a confluence of fateful events in 1956, Hungarian students led hundreds of thousands of their countrymen in a spontaneous revolt against the Soviet-sponsored government. They succeeded for just two weeks, until the USSR released a vengeful blitzkrieg. More than 200,000 Hungarian refugees fled to Austria; many made their way to the U.S. The true story of the uprising had to await the fall of the Iron Curtain.

A Radio Free Europe journalist, the author sensed the importance of that moment in time and saved his notes, articles, and dispatches, and uses it all to create a picture of life in that exhilarating and tragic time. This is by far the most comprehensive account of the revolt. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
Sebestyen, Victor
Pantheon, 2007

Twelve Days is a riveting day-by-day account of the defining moment of the Cold War—the inspiring but brutally crushed Hungarian Uprising.

Victor Sebestyen, a journalist whose own family fled Hungary, gives us a totally fresh account, incorporating newly released official documents, his family's diaries, and eyewitness testimony. We witness the thrilling first days when—armed only with a few rifles, petrol bombs, and desperate courage—the people of Budapest rose up against their Soviet masters and nearly succeeded. As the world watched in amazement, it looked as though the Hungarians might humble the Soviet empire. But the Soviets were willing to resort to brutal lengths—and, sadly, the West was prepared to let them. Dramatic, vivid, and authoritative, Twelve Days adds immeasurably to our understanding of this historic event and reminds us of the unquenchable human desire for freedom. (From description on publisher’s web site.)


This is Paradise!: My North Korean Childhood
Kang, Hyok
Little, Brown Book Group, 2007

Hyok Kang was eighteen when he escaped from North Korea, a country locked away from the outside world. This personal, illustrated account of school days in a rigidly communist institution and everyday life with his family and community provides a rare glimpse of this secretive nation.

His shocking and moving portrayal bears witness to this spirited young boy’s resilience and survival in a society forced to operate under the shadow of labour camps, public executions and the deception of UN representatives by Korean officials. When the famine comes so too does death by starvation of friends and close ones, and Hyok Kang watches as his classmates drop out of school one by one, too weak to attend. All this is normal. After all, the propaganda North Koreans are fed by their government insists that compared to the rest of the world, this is paradise!

Hyok Kang’s childhood and courageous escape through China, Vietnam and Cambodia to South Korea is a remarkable story that goes to the heart of a nation living under a disturbing delusion of ‘paradise.’ (From description on publisher’s web site.)

The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag
Kang, Chol-hwan
Basic Books, 2001

North Korea is today one of the last bastions of hard-line Communism. Its leaders have kept a tight grasp on their one-party regime, quashing any nascent opposition movements and sending all suspected dissidents to its brutal concentration camps for "re-education." Kang Chol-hwan is the first survivor of one of these camps to escape and tell his story to the world, documenting the extreme conditions in these gulags and providing a personal insight into life in North Korea. Part horror story, part historical document, part memoir, part political tract, this record of one man's suffering gives eyewitness proof to an ongoing sorrowful chapter of modern history. (From description on publisher’s web site.)


Walking Since Daybreak: A Story of Eastern Europe, World War II and the Heart of Our Century
Eksteins, Modris
Mariner Books, 2000

Part history, part autobiography, Walking Since Daybreak tells the tragic story of the Baltic nations before, during, and after World War II. Personal stories of the survival or destruction of Modris Eksteins's family members lend an intimate dimension to this vast narrative of those millions who have surged back and forth across the lowlands bordering the Baltic Sea. The immense cataclysm of World War II devastated the Baltic republics of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, sending many of their inhabitants to the ends of the earth. Eksteins's two-pronged narrative is a haunting portrait of national loss and the struggle of a displaced family caught in the maw of history. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

With Dance Shoes in Siberian Snows
Kalniete, Sandra
Dalkey Archive Press, 2009

Kalniete's book is a moving and eloquent testimony to her family and to the Latvian nation—to their shared fate during more than fifty years of occupation. It is an indictment of the inhuman repression of both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Above all, it is the story of human survival, and it has become the most-translated Latvian book in recent history. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

No Time To Cry
Leinvebers, Vera

Every story has a beginning, a journey, and an end. Author Vera Leinvebers’s story begins in her beloved homeland of Latvia, just prior to the outbreak of World War II. Her early childhood is filled with joy and music, but this idyllic, carefree existence is irrevocably silenced by the advancing drumbeats of war. The journey that follows proves so intense and harrowing that in order to find the emotional separation necessary to face her traumatic childhood memories, Leinvebers filters her experiences through the eyes of a young Latvian girl called Lara.

No Time to Cry tells the story of Lara’s harrowing ordeal in war-ravaged Europe. It is a story about brutality, hatred and unimaginable loss, but it is also a lasting testament to one little girl’s indomitable will to survive. When she loses nearly everything she holds dear, Lara desperately clings to what remains—the music indelibly etched in her memory and a small, smooth stone that she retrieved from the charred remains of her former home. That small stone became her symbol of strength. If it could survive the inferno and devastation, so could she.

Join Lara as a traveler on the path of her war-ravaged childhood, a path that clearly proves that no matter how much one might suffer, when the goal is to survive there is simply no time to cry. (Source author website)


Odyssey of Hope: The Story of a Lithuanian Immigrant's Escape from Communism to Freedom in America and the Return to His Beloved Homeland
Kazickas, Joseph
Tyto Alba, 2006

Odyssey of Hope is the life story of Joseph Kazickas, a Lithuanian immigrant who found freedom and success in America after a dramatic escape from his country during World War II but never lost his longing and devotion for his beloved homeland.

The Kazickas “journey”—finding courage in the face of danger and home in the world of exile— spans most of the 20th century. It traverses the globe and covers the history of Lithuania from independence in 1918 through the Nazi invasion and 50 years of Russian occupation. When finally, independence was regained in 1991 after the many years he and so many worked to keep the dream alive, Kazickas embarked upon a mission to help bring economic prosperity to democratic Lithuania. (From description on publisher’s web site.)


The Silence Echoes: Memoirs of Trauma and Tears (Mennonite reflections)
Dyck, Sarah
Pandora Press, 1997

Mennonites of Dutch/German ancestry began emigrating from Prussia and settling in the Ukraine in 1789, following invitations and guarantees granted by Catherine II of Russia. One hundred years later, the Mennonites in Russia had prospered. They now numbered some 70,000 persons living in progressive settlements, leading the way in farming and manufacturing. The Mennonites who settled in Russia kept their language, their religion, and their culture intact. But as the nineteenth century drew to a close, Mennonite community identity was increasingly seen as a threat. There was first a drive for "russification" under the Czars; there then was increasing suspicion of all things German with the outbreak of the First World War; and finally the Bolshevik Revolution brought Christianity and prosperity into question. The Second World War and its brutal Stalinist aftermath succeeded in destroying life in the Mennonite colonies. The first person accounts translated here tell the stories of people who almost miraculously survived successive waves of revolution, civil war, assassination, economic and political purges, and arbitrary arrest and banishment. The stories of these survivors are just now beginning to be published, in both German and Russian. Sarah Dyck's selection and skillful translation of these memoirs opens a rare window through which English readers can begin to grasp the reality of life in the Soviet empire for those judged to be "enemies of the People." These stories provide graphic and personal documentation of a land and a people in turmoil. (Description from book’s web site.)

Remember Us - Letters from Stalin's Gulag (1930-37) Volume One: The Regehr Family
Derksen Siemens, Ruth
Pandora Press, 2008

A father and mother plead to their relatives in Canada: "Remember us. Do not forget us." Their children write: "What will become of us?" Written from their prison barrack behind the barbed wire, their letters travel to a tiny prairie town in Canada. Yet, writing letters to the "West" during Stalin's Reign was a crime. NKVD documents confirm that "contacts abroad" were forbidden. Somehow, a subversive network of mail delivery was found during one of the most horrific eras in human history. Men, women and children were sentenced to Stalin's vast Gulag of over 2000 prison camps. The survival rate was one winter. The plea to "Remember us" describes not only the horror, but also the strength of the human spirit in the bleakest circumstances.

Remarkably, the world knows little of these catastrophic events. But the letters change this. These are first-hand eye-witness accounts written in the moment; not years later after time has eroded the experience. Their immediate readers (relatives in Canada) will remember. Their children will remember. Now we too can remember what happened. We can honor the victims and commemorate the survivors. The letters confirm the day-to-day experiences of those in the prison camps. (Description from book’s web site.)


Katyn: Stalin’s Massacre and the Triumph of Truth
Paul, Allen
Northern Illinois University Press, 2010

Twenty years ago, Allen Paul wrote the first post-communist account of one of the greatest but least-known tragedies of the 20th century: Stalin’s annihilation of Poland’s officer corps and massive deportation of so-called “bourgeoisie elements” to Siberia. Today, these brutal events are symbolized by one word, Katyn—a crime that still bitterly divides Poles and Russians. Paul’s richly updated account covers Russian attempts to recant their admission of guilt for the murders in Katyn Forest and includes recently translated documents from Russian military archives, eyewitness accounts of two perpetrators, and secret official minutes published here for the first time that confirm that U.S. government cover-up of the crime continued long after the war ended.

Paul’s masterful narrative recreates what daily life was like for three Polish families amid momentous events of World War II—from the treacherous Nazi-Soviet invasion in 1939 to a rigged election in 1947 that sealed Poland’s doom. The patriarch of each family was among the Polish officers personally ordered by Stalin to be shot. One of the families suffered daily repression under the German General Government. Like thousands of other Poles, two of the families were deported to Siberia, where they nearly died from forced labor, starvation, and neglect. Through painstaking research, the author reconstructs the lives of these families including such stories as a miraculous escape on the last transport of Poles leaving Russia and a mother’s daring ski trek over the Carpathian Mountains to rescue a daughter she had not seen in six years. At the heart of the drama is the Poles’ uncommon belief in “victory in defeat”—that their struggles made them strong and that freedom and independence, inevitably, would be regained. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Katyn: A Crime Without Punishment (Annals of Communism Series)
Cienciala, Anna M., Natalia S. Lebedeva, and Wojciech Materski
Yale University Press, 2008

The 14,500 Polish army officers, police, gendarmes, and civilians taken prisoner by the Red Army when it invaded eastern Poland in September 1939 were held in three special NKVD camps and executed at three different sites in spring 1940, of which the one in Katyn Forest is the most famous. Another 7,300 prisoners held in NKVD jails in Ukraine and Belarus were also shot at this time, although many others disappeared without trace. The murder of these Poles is among the most monstrous mass murders undertaken by any modern government.

Three leading historians of the NKVD massacres of Polish prisoners of war at Katyn, Kharkov, and Tver—now subsumed under “Katyn”—present 122 documents selected from the published Russian and Polish volumes coedited by Natalia S. Lebedeva and Wojciech Materski. The documents, with introductions and notes by Anna M. Cienciala, detail the Soviet killings, the elaborate cover-up, the admission of the truth, and the Katyn question in Soviet/Russian–Polish relations up to the present. (Description from publisher’s web site.)

When God Looked the Other Way: An Odyssey of War, Exile, and Redemption
Adamczyk, Wesley
University of Chicago Press, 2004

Often overlooked in accounts of World War II is the Soviet Union's quiet yet brutal campaign against Polish citizens, a campaign that included, we now know, war crimes for which the Soviet and Russian governments only recently admitted culpability. Standing in the shadow of the Holocaust, this episode of European history is often overlooked. Wesley Adamczyk's gripping memoir, When God Looked the Other Way, now gives voice to the hundreds of thousands of victims of Soviet barbarism.

Adamczyk was a young Polish boy when he was deported with his mother and siblings from their comfortable home in Luck to Soviet Siberia in May of 1940. His father, a Polish Army officer, was taken prisoner by the Red Army and eventually became one of the victims of the Katyn massacre, in which tens of thousands of Polish officers were slain at the hands of the Soviet secret police. The family's separation and deportation in 1940 marked the beginning of a ten-year odyssey in which the family endured fierce living conditions, meager food rations, chronic displacement, and rampant disease, first in the Soviet Union and then in Iran, where Adamczyk's mother succumbed to exhaustion after mounting a harrowing escape from the Soviets. Wandering from country to country and living in refugee camps and the homes of strangers, Adamczyk struggled to survive and maintain his dignity amid the horrors of war.

When God Looked the Other Way is a memoir of a boyhood lived in unspeakable circumstances, a book that not only illuminates one of the darkest periods of European history but also traces the loss of innocence and the fight against despair that took root in one young boy. It is also a book that offers a stark picture of the unforgiving nature of Communism and its champions. Unflinching and poignant, When God Looked the Other Way will stand as a testament to the trials of a family during wartime and an intimate chronicle of episodes yet to receive their historical due. (Description from publisher’s web site.)

The Polish Deportees of World War II: Recollections of Removal to the Soviet Union and Dispersal Throughout the World
Piotrowski, Tadeusz
McFarland, 2004

Among the great tragedies that befell Poland during World War II was the forced deportation of its citizens by the Soviet Union during the first Soviet occupation of that country between 1939 and 1941.

This is the story of that brutal Soviet ethnic cleansing campaign told in the words of some of the survivors. It is an unforgettable human drama of excruciating martyrdom in the Gulag. For example, one witness reports: “A young woman who had given birth on the train threw herself and her newborn under the wheels of an approaching train.” Survivors also tell the story of events after the “amnesty.” “Our suffering is simply indescribable. We have spent weeks now sleeping in lice-infested dirty rags in train stations,” wrote the Milewski family. Details are also given on the non-European countries that extended a helping hand to the exiles in their hour of need. (Description from publisher’s web site.)


My Second University: Memories from Romanian Communist Prisons
Dusleag, Dan L.
iUnverse, 2005

Following the Communist takeover of Romania in 1945, Dr. Stanciu Stroia refused to join the party, suffering professional humiliation and political persecution. He was arrested in 1951 and sentenced to seven years in prison; his estate was nationalized, his family exiled, and his practice confiscated. Ill with scurvy, he survived the prison ordeal and wrote his memoir, despite the risk of being detained again.

The book includes thirty-six pages of original photographs and one thousand never-before-published names of political detainees. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Communist Terror in Romania: Gheorghiu-Dej and the Police State, 1948-1965
Deletant, Dennis
Out of Print

This is the first general single-volume history in English of Romania under Gheorghiu-Dej, its first Communist ruler and predecessor of Nicolae Ceausescu. Based extensively on Securitate and Party documents inaccessible under the Communist regime and consulted since 1990 by only a handful of scholars, the book focuses on the use of terror by the Communists and the attempt to transform Romanian society totally through Communist rule. The Ceausescu regime, for all its appalling abuses of human dignity, never repeated the tactics of mass arrests and wholesale deportations that were a feature of most of the Gheorghiu-Dej era. The book provides a case-study in totalitarian methods of change, giving the reader an idea of what it was like to live in the Romania of Gheorghiu-Dej. (From description on

The Silent Escape: The Three Thousand Days in Romanian Prisons
Constante, Lena
University of California Press, 1995

Victim of Stalinist-era terror, Lena Constante was arrested on trumped-up charges of "espionage" and sentenced to twelve years in Romanian prisons. The Silent Escape is the extraordinary account of the first eight years of her incarceration—years of solitary confinement during which she was tortured, starved, and daily humiliated.

The only woman to have endured isolation so long in Romanian jails, Constante is also one of the few women political prisoners to have written about her ordeal. Unlike other more political prison diaries, this book draws us into the practical and emotional experiences of everyday prison life. Candidly, eloquently, Constante describes the physical and psychological abuses that were the common lot of communist-state political prisoners. She also recounts the particular humiliations she suffered as a woman, including that of male guards watching her in the bathroom. Constante survived by escaping into her mind—and finally by discovering the "language of the walls," which enabled her to communicate with other female inmates. A powerful story of totalitarianism and human endurance, this work makes an important contribution to the literature of "prison notebooks." (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 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.)

Famine in Ukraine, 1932–1933
Krawchenko, Bohdan and Roman Serbyn
Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, 1986

The Soviet Man-made famine of 1932–33 in Ukraine claimed the lives of millions of people, yet until recently it has remained veiled in obscurity. This pioneering volume, which appeared before the publication of Robert Conquest's Harvest of Sorrow and the establishment of the US Congressional Committee on the Famine, was one of the first scholarly efforts to analyze the famine. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust
Dolot, Miron
W. W. Norton & Company, 1987

Seven million people in the "breadbasket of Europe" were deliberately starved to death at Stalin's command. This story has been suppressed for half a century. Now, a survivor speaks.

In 1929, in an effort to destroy the well-to-do peasant farmers, Joseph Stalin ordered the collectivization of all Ukrainian farms. In the ensuing years, a brutal Soviet campaign of confiscations, terrorizing, and murder spread throughout Ukrainian villages. What food remained after the seizures was insufficient to support the population. In the resulting famine as many as seven million Ukrainians starved to death.

This poignant eyewitness account of the Ukrainian famine by one of the survivors relates the young Miron Dolot's day-to-day confrontation with despair and death—his helplessness as friends and family were arrested and abused—and his gradual realization, as he matured, of the absolute control the Soviets had over his life and the lives of his people. But it is also the story of personal dignity in the face of horror and humiliation. And it is an indictment of a chapter in the Soviet past that is still not acknowledged by Russian leaders. (From description on publisher’s web site.)


The Bamboo Gulag: Political Imprisonment in Communist Vietnam
Vo, Nghia M.
McFarland, 2004

This comprehensive review of the gulag system instituted in communist Vietnam explores the three-pronged approach that was used to convert the rebellious South into a full-fledged communist country after 1975.

This book attempts to retrace the path of these imprisoned people from the last months of the war to their escape from Vietnam and explores the emotions that gripped them throughout their stay in the camps. Individual reactions to the camps varied depending on philosophical, emotional and moral beliefs. This reconstruction of those years serves as a memoir for all who were incarcerated in the bamboo gulags. (From description on publisher’s web site.)

The Vietnamese Boat People, 1954 and 1975–1992
Vo, Nghia M.
McFarland, 2006

The biggest diaspora in Vietnamese history occurred between 1975 and 1992, when more than two million people fled by boat to escape North Vietnam’s oppressive communist regime. Before this well-known exodus from Vietnam’s shores, however, there was a massive population shift within the country. In 1954, one million fled from north to south to escape war, famine, and the communist land reform campaign. Many of these refugees went on to flee Vietnam altogether in the 1970s and 1980s, and the experiences of 1954 influenced the later diaspora in other ways as well.

This book reassesses the causes and dynamics of the 1975–92 diaspora. It begins with a discussion of Vietnam from 1939 to 1954, then looks closely at the 1954 “Operation Exodus” and the subsequent resettlements. From here the focus turns to the later events that drove hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese to flee their homeland in 1975 and the years that followed. Planning for escape, choosing routes, facing pirates at sea, and surviving the refugee camps are among the many topics covered. Stories of individual escapees are provided throughout. The book closes with a look at the struggles and achievements of the resettled Vietnamese. (From description on publisher’s web site.)


The Soviet Story
Foundation for Investigation of the Communist Crimes

Catalogs crimes against humanity conducted by violent communist regimes across the globe in different time periods.

Gulag 113

The award-winning documentary film follows the story of an Estonian-Canadian survivor of the Soviet GULAG system.

Vicitms of Communism Memorial Foundation

The foundation was established by an Act of Congress to build a memorial in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the more than 100 million victims of communism.

Global Museum on Communism

Online museum dedicated to documenting the grim legacy of global communism.

Militant Atheism in The Former Soviet Union
The Baltic Initative and Networks Website