Anne Applebaum’s Red Famine (2017)

Book Review


  • Frank Hordijk UiT Culture and Social Sciences Library



Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine (2017), Anne Applebaum


The theme setting and particular relevance of artificial or man-made famines seems to come up in intervals, when tensions re-arise between ‘Western’ powers and Russia and seems to be useful for the purposes of ‘demonizing’ ‘Putin’—the current President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin (2000–2008; 2012–)—, ‘the Kremlin’, the Russian government; or simply ‘Russia’ in the eyes of ‘the West’. In recent years, the famine of 1932–1933 has reached new heights as a politicized event to be instrumentalized in a ‘memory war’ on many discursive levels (history, mass media, memorialization, etc.) between key-representatives of the current countries Ukraine and Russia (Hordijk 2018). This should, symptomatically, remind us of the sheer power that media narratives have in shaping public imaginations.

The reviewed book: Anne Elizabeth Applebaum. Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine. ISBN-13: 978–0–241–00380–0. London: Allen Lane, September 2017. Hardcover; 512 pages; recommended retail price: £25.00.

Author Biography

Frank Hordijk, UiT Culture and Social Sciences Library

is currently a librarian at the Norwegian Polar Institute and at the UiT Culture and Social Sciences Library. He holds a master’s degree in Media and Documentation Studies. His interests include Ukrainian and Russian history and exploring representations of historical memories in film and literature.


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How to Cite

Hordijk, Frank. 2019. “Anne Applebaum’s <i>Red Famine</I> (2017): Book Review”. Nordlit, no. 42 (November):381–390.