Our history is both cursed and magnificent. -- Boris Yeltzin
“For over a decade in the middle of twentieth century, the lands between Russia and Germany were the killing fields of Europe. Tens of millions of civilians from Poland to Ukraine, Lithuania to Belarus were starved, beaten, shot and gassed to death by the authorities and armies of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. We think we know this story and we assign it shorthand labels: Auschwitz, the Gulag. But neither the concentration camps (which were mostly not death camps) nor the Soviet network of labor camps in Siberia (from which many survived) were representative of the worst crimes committed in these years. Jews were without question the supreme victim (and in the Nazi case, the dominant target); but there were many other victims with whom western readers are far less familiar. Without a better grasp of the scale and breadth of the suffering experienced in these lands, we cannot hope to appreciate the true impact of the twentieth century." -- part of a review by Tony Judt
I can't find to a reference to another book I read recently. I guess I was too busy (and without useful words) to note it the time. It also wasn't a light read.
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea
Nothing to Envy is about the history of North Korea, and the individual stories from some individuals who finally escaped North Korea's regime. Gripping and incredible.
Why read such depressing books? Well, it are important to know history of situations that were hidden. Darkness.
If we curse the past, if we blank it out of our memory as my father did, nothing will get better. -- Boris Yeltzin