The Unknown Gulag

The Unknown Gulag : The Lost World of Stalin's Special Settlements

3.44 (45 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 1 business day
When will my order arrive?


One of Stalin's most heinous acts was the ruthless repression of millions of peasants in the early 1930s, an act that established the very foundations of the gulag. Solzhenitsyn barely touched upon this brutal episode in his magisterial Gulag Archipelago and subsequent writers passed over the subject in silence. Now, with the opening of Soviet archives, an entirely new dimension of Stalin's brutality has been uncovered. The Unknown Gulag is the first book in English to explore this untold story. Historian Lynne Viola reveals how, in one of the most egregious episodes of Soviet repression, Stalin drove two million peasants into internal exile, to work as forced laborers. The book shows how entire families were callously thrown out of their homes, banished from their villages, and sent to the icy hinterlands of the Soviet Union, where in the course of a decade, almost a half million would die as a result of disease, starvation, or exhaustion. Drawing on pioneering research in the previously closed archives of the central and provincial Communist Party, the Soviet state, and the secret police, Viola documents the history of this tragic episode.
She delves into what long remained an entirely hidden world within the gulag, throwing new light on Stalin's consolidation of power, the rise of the secret police as a state within the state, and the complex workings of the Soviet system. But first and foremost, she movingly captures the day-to-day life of Stalin's first victims, telling the stories of the peasant families who experienced one of the twentieth century's most horrific instances of mass repression. A compelling story of human suffering and survival in Stalin's Soviet Union, here is a new chapter in the history of the gulag, virtually hidden from sight until now.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 144.78 x 223.52 x 22.86mm | 408.23g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 22 black and white halftone illustrations
  • 0195385098
  • 9780195385090
  • 621,087

Review quote

This immensely readable book is to be applauded for its clarity and style. Accompanied by an extensive bibliography and notes, it is likely to stand as the most important work on the fate of the peasants under Joseph Stalin. * Peter Hylarides, Contemporary Review * Viola has vividly portrayed and carefully documented a long neglected aspect of Stalin's repression... This book is essential reading for students of Soviet history, and for experts on Stalinism and the Gulag, as well. * Katherine R. Jolluck, European History Quarterly. * This very scholarly and authoritative work is at times also moving and always very revealing. * Mainstream Magazine. * A seamless and quite moving narrative.... a social historian at the top of her game.- * Lewis H. Siegelbaum, Slavic Review * Historians have long been aware of the scale of collectivization and the exile of the kulaks. But The Unknown Gulag provides the human voices that were secreted away for decades in formerly closed archives. Ms. Viola's painstaking research lays the foundation for a compelling and, in certain ways, surprising narrative.- * The Wall Street Journal * This scholarly, nuanced work shines light on Stalin's forced resettlement of two million Soviet peasants in the 1930s. ...likely to become the scholarly standard on one of the 20th century's most horrific crimes.- * Publishers Weekly * A path-breaking and authoritative work.- * Douglas Smith, The Seattle Times * Magnificently wide-ranging- * Times Literary Supplement * After years of archival and field research, Viola reproduces whole an obscured segment of Stalinism's barbarity in which half a million perished and nearly two million agonized.- * Foreign Affairs * The Unknown Gulag is thoroughly researched and a welcome contribution to te literature on repression under Stali...A well-written treatment of a terrible episode that shows hpw the stalinist treatment of mass repression was created. * Alastair Kocho-Williams, History * This study of Stalin's special settlements exposes a little-known topic, providing an account that is lucid and informative. It is also a moving work...A highly successful book that is both intellectually stimualting and engagingly written. * Miriam Dobson, Seer 87,3 *
show more

About Lynne Viola

Lynne Viola is Professor of History at the University of Toronto. She is the author of The Best Sons of the Fatherland and Peasant Rebels Under Stalin, and the co-editor of The Tragedy of the Soviet Countryside.
show more

Table of contents

show more

Rating details

45 ratings
3.44 out of 5 stars
5 11% (5)
4 44% (20)
3 24% (11)
2 18% (8)
1 2% (1)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X