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A World Apart: Imprisonment in a Soviet Labor Camp During World War II [Format Kindle]

Gustaw Herling , Bertrand Russell , Andrzej Ciolkosz

Prix éditeur - format imprimé : EUR 14,16
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Prix Amazon Neuf à partir de Occasion à partir de
Format Kindle EUR 2,45  
Format Kindle, 1 juin 1996 EUR 9,88  
Relié EUR 34,06  
Relié --  
Broché EUR 13,96  

Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

In 1940, Gustav Herling was arrested after he joined an underground Polish army that fell into Russian hands. He was sent to a northern Russian labour camp, where he spent the two most horrible years of his life. In this book, he tells of the people he was imprisoned with, the hardships they endured, and the indomitable spirit and will that allowed them to survive. Above all, he creates a portrait of how people - deprived of food, clothing, proper medical care, and forced to work at hard labour - can come together to form a community that offers hope in the face of hopelessness, that offers life when even the living have no life left.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1036 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 286 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0140251847
  • Editeur : Penguin Books (1 juin 1996)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004IE9R6W
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°598.125 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Amazon.com: 4.9 étoiles sur 5  14 commentaires
21 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A masterpiece yet to be discovered 2 février 2005
Par Leszek Strzelecki - Publié sur Amazon.com
Perhaps the best summary of this book comes from Bertrand Russell himself who wrote an introduction to the first English edition of "World Apart" in 1951: "Among the many books that I have read about experiences of the victims of the Soviet prisons and camps, the `World Apart' by Gustaw Herling impressed me the most and is best written. This book possesses very rarely seen power of simple and lively narrative and it is completely impossible to question anywhere his truthfulness."

In spite of this testimony from one of the greatest intellectuals of the XX Century, the book did not enjoy much recognition for many years. Even today, more than half a century after its publication, this masterpiece still remains in relative obscurity, save the Herling's native Poland. It is an example of a thing done by "a wrong guy at the wrong time in the wrong place". Czeslaw Milosz explained that condition somewhat like this: After the war Gustaw Herling was known more for his service in the Polish Army of Wladyslaw Anders considered at the time, especially in France and Italy, as Fascist and the book was clearly anti-Soviet. At the same time the prevailing mood, especially among the left-leaning intellectuals was decisively pro-Soviet. After all the Soviet Union was an Ally who played decisive role in the defeat of the Nazi Germany.

The true nature of the Soviet system was not fully revealed and acknowledged until the publication of Solzhenitsyn's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" (1963) and, more importantly, "The Gulag Archipelago" (1974). Important as these works are, however, the testimony of Herling preceded them by more than a decade and it is the first, as far as I can tell, in depth account of the reality of Soviet system. Unfortunately the works by Solzhenitsyn did not do much good to redeeming this book's value. Perhaps, they even overshadowed it.

The "World Apart" is an account of the real events that happened during Herling's "tenure" in the camps of Kargopole in the deep North of the Soviet Union. And the real were the people he wrote about. But this book is not merely an account of these unspeakable events. Herling goes much further. He offers his analysis of "what happened how and why". And he offers the portraits of people describing what can happen to a man under the conditions of extreme terror, cold, hunger and overwork. It is a warning to all those "homegrown moralists" who in the comforts of their secure existence in freedom feel in their rights to pass judgments on others regardless of circumstances they really know nothing about.

However horrific were the events described and however terrible was what happened to and with the people in the camps the overall "climate", if you will, of this book is not altogether gloomy. While not concealing what happened with the inmates in terms of their own behavior, Gustaw Herling refrains very consistently from passing judgments on them. The inmates were ordinary people and their misery, including sometimes complete moral disintegration and loss of dignity, was inflicted upon them and they were the victims. One cannot demand impossible from others and cannot expect something he had not proven capable of delivering himself.

But his judgment of the nature of the Soviet system itself is unmistakable and uncompromising. It is astonishing that even today while there is hardly any confusion as to the nature of the Nazism, there is still much ignorance, misunderstanding and under-appreciation for the evils of Communism, including it's most degraded Stalinist brand. "World Apart" by Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski fully deserves to be recognized as one of the most in-depth, original analysis of the nature of the Soviet system (and beyond) and is a genuine masterpiece of the literature of the XX Century. If there is a work that this book should be compared to it is Fyodor Dostoyevsky's "Notes from the Underground".
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Recommended 5 septembre 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
A World Apart is reminiscent of A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch. Where A Day in the Life... is defined by a mood of monotony and despair, A World Apart provides greater detail in the events defining the two year prison existence of Gustaw Herling.
The book is beautifully written and completely unsentimental. There are no lessons in the power of the human spirit. It is the men who do not cling to hope who have a chance of survival. Hope means recognizing the obliqueness of the present situation. This knowledge is what brings despair and death.
This is the most graphic account I have read of the gulags. Gustaw manages to step back from the events taking place and with out sentiment or condemnation report. Herling writes that inhumane conditions will change the behavior of those individuals affected. Some of the prisoners actions can be explained in light of this. Highly recommended.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A different look at the GULAG 21 décembre 2006
Par Bob Manson - Publié sur Amazon.com
I first read The Gulag Archipelago when I was in middle school, and it left a lasting impression. What I hadn't realized was there were other authors who had written about the subject before Solzhenitsyn.

Herling's book is a very readable introduction to life in the GULAG; he was a prisoner for eighteen months until he was released to work as part of the war effort. Told from a first-person perspective, it's not as detailed and doesn't present as many disparate views as The Gulag Archipelago but is still very interesting and enlightening.

It's especially recommended if you're curious about the subject and don't have the patience or the time to work through Solzhenitsyn's works.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Insights into the Psychology of the GULAG System 27 février 2009
Par Jan Peczkis - Publié sur Amazon.com
(This review is from a different-cover version from that pictured).

This book, originally published in 1951, is one of the first, if not the first, English-language account by a Polish inmate from the early-WWII (1939-1941) period. In the Preface (pp. ix-x), eminent British philosopher Bertrand Russell condemns the Communist apologists for their denials of the Soviet concentration camp system.

Herling had been caught trying to flee Poland during her 1939 dismemberment by the Soviets and Germans. Since Nazi Germany was than an ally of the USSR, his desire to continue fighting the Germans was treated as an anti-Soviet act. He ended up at Yercevo, the Kargopol camp, located at Archangel, on the White Sea. He summarized his experiences (pp. 254-256) in refutation of Gulag-deniers.

One prominent feature of this book is its insight into the psychology of both the tormentors and the tormented. We learn, for example, that Communist tortures were designed not merely to make the victims sign a confession of guilt, but to destroy their very personality. (p. 65). Previous inmates of the Gulags who now served as overseers were often extremely harsh to current inmates. (p. 108). (This is reminiscent of Bruno Bettelheim's testimony about the conduct of long-term inmates of Nazi concentration camps towards newer prisoners.). Those inmates who planned escapes and stored food for them did not actually try to escape--which they knew was almost impossible. Their efforts were simply to build hope for the future. (pp. 124-125). Some Communists who now were incarcerated continued to cling to Communism because otherwise they would have nothing else to live for. (p. 185).

It has fallaciously been argued that there was no Soviet equivalent to the Nazi death camps--no camp to which admission absolutely guaranteed death. In fact, there were. Herling himself was directly aware of the 100% mortality in certain logging camps: "I never came across a prisoner who had worked in the forest for more than two years. As a rule they left after a year, with incurable disease of the heart, and were transferred to brigades engaged in lighter work; from these they soon `retired'-to the mortuary." (p. 41).

Recently, some revisionists have cited Soviet documents that allege that the number of Gulag victims was quite small. In actuality, even official Soviet documents commonly omit or greatly downgrade things according to personal preference or ideology. Referring to a Mr. Sadovsky, a Communist official who fell out of favor and was incarcerated with him, Herling comments: "I suppose that before his arrest he did indeed hold a high position in the party hierarchy, for he once told me of the faked official statistics which had wiped out of existence several national minorities in Russia, including the Polish." (p. 186).
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A story of the Gulag. 18 juillet 2007
Par Kevin M Quigg - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a true story of the Gulag. Gustav Herling was arrested because he fled across an international boundary and the Russians suspected he was related to Hermann Goring. Of course this was crazy. At the time, Russia was allied with Germany, and Herling was fleeing the Nazis. His one and half years in a Gulag camp in the Artic north is featured in this story. He relates how prisoners were sapped of their energy and then died. The prominent theme was the hunger of the prisoners. They were slowly starved to death. Other stories relate the one or two days a year the prisoners were given off, the disgraced NKVD prisoners and their fate, and the cultural activities.

This is an interesting read. This is not for the feint of heart. Murder, rape, hunger, and the loss of humanity were what happened in the camps. Herling portrays this vividly in this book. The book blasts the system of slave labor in the Soviet Union.
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