Kolyma the Worst of the Gulag Archipelago

Posted: August 21, 2011 at 8:12 am

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Here is a book about the most notorious of Soviet death camps in the Siberian region, 2 to 3 million people, most of them White, died under the cruel auspices of the Hammer and Sickle.

This book is about the worst camp in communism, and the people who were sent there on a one-way journey to a camp where there were more real victims than the fictional death tole at Auschwitz.

(Note: This book is now out-of-print, but now available online)

"This excellent historical work gives us a painstaking account of a subject only barely touched on in 'The Gulag Archipelago'... 'Kolyma' may well be the best place to begin an acquaintance with this appalling material."
-Hilton Kramer in The New York Times Book Review

Solzhenitsyn, in The Gulag Archipelago, calls Kolyma the "pole of cold and cruelty" of Stalin's labour-camp system, adding that it is so notorious in the USSR that he himself is only devoting a few pages to it. In this important book, first published in hardback in 1978, Robert Conquest makes it clear why Kolyma is a name comparable with Auschwitz. Its three million-odd victims perished not in gas chambers, but predominantly by cold and hunger, and, as Dr. Conquest demonstrates, these killings were the conscious result of a policy of extermination.

Kolyma is a vast area in the north-east of arctic Siberia and could only be reached by sea, during the ice-free summer months, over which the prison hulks carried their victims in appalling conditions. Drawing on a number of first-hand accounts of life in the camps, the author "has brilliantly made a pattern of the patchwork. His approach, his style, his controlled detachment all suggest a man who is not overcalling his hand" (The Listener).

"Outstanding... a moving compilation of direct experiences coupled with painstaking research to ensure accuracy."
-Deam W. Given in The Chicago Tribune

Robert Conquest's works include several celebrated books on the Soviet Union such as Russia After Khrushchev and The Great Terror.

More info on Kolyma can be found here:

Kolyma: Part 1

Kolyma: Part 2

Kolyma: Part 3

Kolyma: Part 4


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August 21st, 2011 at 8:12 am