Red Famine Book Summary - Red Famine Book explained in key points

Red Famine summary

Anne Applebaum

Brief summary

Red Famine by Anne Applebaum is a gripping historical account of the devastating Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933. It delves into the political and social factors that led to this man-made catastrophe, shedding light on a tragic chapter in history.

Give Feedback
Topics
Table of Contents

    Red Famine
    Summary of key ideas

    Understanding the Ukrainian Famine

    In Red Famine, Anne Applebaum delves into the devastating Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933, a period known as the Holodomor. She begins by providing a comprehensive historical context, explaining the complex relationship between Ukraine and Russia, and the impact of the Bolshevik Revolution on Ukrainian society. Applebaum highlights the Ukrainian national identity and the resistance it posed to Soviet rule, which led to the Soviet leadership's increasing hostility towards Ukraine.

    Applebaum then explores the implementation of Stalin's agricultural policies, particularly the forced collectivization of farms. She describes the brutal tactics used to enforce these policies, including the confiscation of grain and livestock, and the deportation and execution of those who resisted. These measures, combined with a series of natural disasters, led to widespread famine in Ukraine.

    The Role of Propaganda

    Applebaum emphasizes the role of propaganda in shaping the narrative of the famine. She explains how the Soviet government, through censorship and misinformation, denied the existence of the famine and portrayed it as a result of sabotage by wealthy peasants, or kulaks, and foreign agents. The author also discusses the complicity of foreign journalists and intellectuals who, influenced by Soviet propaganda, denied or downplayed the severity of the famine.

    Applebaum argues that the denial of the famine was not just a historical distortion but a deliberate act of violence. By denying the existence of the famine, the Soviet government sought to erase the suffering of the Ukrainian people and suppress any form of Ukrainian national identity and resistance.

    The Horrors of the Famine

    Applebaum vividly portrays the horrors of the famine, drawing on eyewitness accounts and survivor testimonies. She describes the desperate measures taken by Ukrainians to survive, including eating grass, leaves, and even resorting to cannibalism. The author also highlights the psychological impact of the famine, as people were forced to abandon their traditional values and turn against each other in the struggle for survival.

    Furthermore, Applebaum discusses the Soviet government's response to the famine, which included sealing off Ukraine's borders to prevent people from leaving and imposing harsh penalties on those attempting to obtain food or aid. She argues that these actions were part of a deliberate strategy to ensure the famine's effectiveness as a tool of terror and control.

    The Aftermath and Legacy

    In the aftermath of the famine, Applebaum explains how the Soviet government intensified its efforts to suppress Ukrainian national identity, including the mass deportation of Ukrainian intellectuals and cultural figures. She also discusses the long-term impact of the famine on Ukrainian society, including a deep-seated distrust of the Soviet government and a lasting trauma that continues to shape Ukrainian identity.

    In conclusion, Red Famine provides a comprehensive and harrowing account of the Ukrainian famine, shedding light on a dark chapter in Soviet history. Applebaum's work serves as a powerful reminder of the devastating consequences of totalitarian rule and the importance of acknowledging and remembering historical atrocities.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Red Famine about?

    Red Famine by Anne Applebaum examines the devastating Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933, known as the Holodomor. Through extensive research and firsthand accounts, the book uncovers the political decisions and policies that led to the famine, resulting in the deaths of millions. It also explores the broader implications of this man-made tragedy within the context of Soviet history.

    Red Famine Review

    Red Famine (2017) sheds light on the devastating Great Famine in Ukraine during the early 1930s, revealing the political motivations behind one of history's greatest tragedies. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • By meticulously examining historical documents and personal accounts, it offers a thorough and well-researched exploration of the causes and consequences of the famine.
    • Through its detailed analysis, the book challenges popular beliefs and exposes how political decisions resulted in a man-made catastrophe that affected millions of lives.
    • With its detailed and vivid storytelling, the book keeps readers captivated, ensuring that the tragic history of the Ukrainian famine is never forgotten.

    Who should read Red Famine?

    • Readers interested in the history of the Soviet Union and Stalinist policies
    • Those who want to understand the impact of government-induced famines on a society
    • Individuals who enjoy deeply researched and compelling non-fiction narratives

    About the Author

    Anne Applebaum is a renowned journalist and author who has dedicated her career to studying the history of Eastern Europe. With a focus on the Soviet Union and its satellite states, Applebaum has written several critically acclaimed books, including "Gulag: A History" and "Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956." Her work has received numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction. Through her in-depth research and compelling storytelling, Applebaum sheds light on the dark and often overlooked chapters of history.

    Categories with Red Famine

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Red Famine FAQs 

    What is the main message of Red Famine?

    The main message of Red Famine is the devastating consequences of a man-made famine in Ukraine.

    How long does it take to read Red Famine?

    The reading time for Red Famine varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Red Famine a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Red Famine is a gripping and eye-opening book. It sheds light on a lesser-known historical event and offers valuable insights.

    Who is the author of Red Famine?

    The author of Red Famine is Anne Applebaum.

    What to read after Red Famine?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Red Famine, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson
    • Rogue States by Noam Chomsky
    • The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
    • The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich August von Hayek
    • Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
    • Manufacturing Consent by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky
    • No Logo by Naomi Klein
    • The Great Degeneration by Niall Ferguson
    • The Bottom Billion by Paul Collier
    • The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein