The Harvest of Sorrow

By Robert Conquest,

Book cover of The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine

Book description

The Harvest of Sorrow is the first full history of one of the most horrendous human tragedies of the 20th century. Between 1929 and 1932 the Soviet Communist Party struck a double blow at the Russian peasantry: dekulakization, the dispossession and deportation of millions of peasant families, and collectivization, the…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Harvest of Sorrow as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is one of the first books in English on what we now call the Holodomor, the famine in Ukraine in the 1930s.

It’s now estimated that about 3.3 million people died in this famine, which Stalin imposed via a policy of “collectivization.” Under this policy, Ukrainian peasants had to turn over their entire harvests to the state, leaving nothing for themselves to eat: some even turned to cannibalism. Things were so bad that the government put up posters saying, “eating people is wrong.” 

When Conquest published this book in 1986, many people denounced him as a right-wing anti-communist, but…

From Rhoda's list on readable stories on human rights.

The British historian of the Soviet Union wrote a number of extra-ordinary books about the horrors of the Soviet Union but this was the best one. It pulls together the story of the second great man-made famine in the Soviet Union when Stalin pushed through the second collectivisation campaign. It was the first book to bring together why and how Stalin’s policies deliberately killed so many people.

He also describes how many people in the West chose to ignore the evidence and the eye-witness accounts of the suffering. Reading it inspired me to research the Great Leap Forward famine. The…

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