Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56

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Allen Lane, 2012 - Communism - 613 pages
9 Reviews
From Anne Applebaum, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag, comes a major new work of historical and moral reckoning: the story of life behind the Iron Curtain.Once the Nazis were defeated in 1945, the people of Central and Eastern Europe expected to recover the lives they had led before 1939. Instead, they found themselves subjected to a tyranny that was in many ways as inhuman as the one which they had just escaped. This book explains how Communism was imposed on these previously free societies in the decade after the end of the Second World War. Applebaum describes, in calm but devastating detail, how political parties, the church, the media, young people's organisations - the institutions of civil society on every level - were all quickly eviscerated. Ranging widely across new archival material and many sources unknown in English, she follows the communists' tactics as they bullied, threatened and murdered their way to power. She also chronicles individual lives to show the rapid choices people had to make - to fight, to flee, or to collaborate. Within a remarkably short period after the end of the war, Eastern Europe had been ruthlessly Stalinised. Iron Curtain is a brilliant history of a brutal period in European history, but also a reminder of how fragile free societies are, and how vulnerable they can be to the predations of determined and unscrupulous enemies.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - PCorrigan - LibraryThing

Definitely 4 or 5 stars. Overall, I found it to be an utterly fascinating survey on exactly how the Iron Curtain developed and then functioned. It is clearly well-researched and appears to be balanced ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - FBerger - LibraryThing

A good introductory book for those possessing an interest but little prior knowledge of communism and communist regimes of the former Easter Bloc countries of East Germany, Poland, and Hungary. I ... Read full review

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About the author (2012)

Anne Applebaumstudied Russian history and literature at Yale and International Relations at the London School of Economics and St Antony's College, Oxford. She has been a writer for the Economistand foreign and deputy editor at the Spectator, and columnist for the Evening Standard and Sunday Telegraph. She is now a columnist and a member of the editorial board of the Washington Post.

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