Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin: Review

Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010) is a study on the interactions between Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, and the states and people between them from ca. 1938-1948. It is a historiographic  intervention which argues that scholars have to examine German and Soviet killing policies side-by-side rather than separate phenomena. It, too, is a part of the reorientation of studies of the Holocaust to the often silenced experience of the Jews of Eastern Europe. Snyder’s book has caused a lot of controversy (here’s a link to JacobinMag’s critical review).

I’ve had a long relationship with Bloodlands. My grandfather suggested Bloodlands it in fall 2010. I read parts of it in spring of 2011. Then it was assigned for a seminar in fall 2014, that’s when I read the whole thing. Apart from acquiring a lot of historical knowledge (although some of it may be on shaky ground), Snyder’s focus on narrative and critique of scholars de-humanizing victims of either regime were particularly moving.

Read this book if: You want to know more about Europe between Hitler and Stalin; You want to have an heated debate with a historian.

(Publisher’s Link)