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Death and Redemption:
The Gulag and the Shaping of Soviet Society
Steven A. Barnes

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"This . . . will appeal to anyone interested in Soviet history, in general, and the institutions of repression, in particular. By fundamentally altering the way we see the function and operation of the Gulag, it also has much to offer scholars of the penal system in the Soviet Union and in comparative perspective."--Katherine R. Jolluck, Journal of Social History

"Death and Redemption is a fascinating and important contribution to our understanding of the role of the infamous Gulag in the Soviet Union. . . . In taking on the Gulag, perhaps the nadir of the Soviet experience, without ideological rancor, Barnes has made a significant contribution to the study of Soviet history, and has provided the interested general reader with a fascinating experience."--John Bokina, European Legacy


"The Gulag has been deployed as the central metaphor of the Soviet experiment. In many ways, it was the brutal double of the Stalinist system as a whole, as it combined violence and social transformation simultaneously. In this compelling and illuminating book, Barnes examines the vast prison and camp system literally from top to bottom. He brings to life a world of horror and despair perversely aimed at founding a transcendent society."--Ronald Grigor Suny, University of Michigan

"Death and Redemption is a work of major scholarly significance. Barnes demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the workings of ideology in Soviet penal practice as well as a mastery of the sources. This wide-ranging study brings to light for the first time in English the vast variety of penal institutions that fell under the jurisdiction of the Gulag, and grounds the Gulag within the broader history of the Soviet Union."--Lynne Viola, author of The Unknown Gulag

"Death and Redemption provides an extraordinarily rich account of the Gulag that goes far beyond traditional views of life in the camps to show how it mirrored and recreated the hierarchies and tensions of broader Soviet society. When all is said and done, this is a brilliant book. Readers, both general and scholarly, will find material for thought here, supported by careful documentation and excellent, absolutely first-rate analysis."--Elizabeth A. Wood, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"This well-written, well-researched book frames the Gulag in an original and compelling manner. Barnes argues that the Gulag must be seen as part of the Soviet state's overall ideological project, and that one component of this project was the use of the camp system to redeem through labor those who could be redeemed. He casts our understanding of the Gulag, and the Stalinist period generally, in a new light."--Peter Holquist, University of Pennsylvania

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File created: 4/24/2017

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