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Man Is Wolf to Man: Surviving the Gulag (1999)

de Janusz Bardach

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212696,984 (3.91)5
FROM THE BOOK:"The pit I was ordered to dig had the precise dimensions of a casket. The NKVD officer carefully designed it. He measured my size with a stick, made lines on the forest floor, and told me to dig. He wanted to make sure I'd fit well inside." In 1941 Janusz Bardach's death sentence was commuted to ten years' hard labor and he was sent to Kolyma--the harshest, coldest, and most deadly prison in Joseph Stalin's labor camp system--the Siberia of Siberias. The only English-language memoir since the fall of communism to chronicle the atrocities committed during the Stalinist regime, Bardach's gripping testimony explores the darkest corners of the human condition at the same time that it documents the tyranny of Stalin's reign, equal only to that of Hitler. With breathtaking immediacy, a riveting eye for detail, and a humanity that permeates the events and landscapes he describes, Bardach recounts the extraordinary story of this nearly inconceivable world. The story begins with the Nazi occupation when Bardach, a young Polish Jew inspired by Soviet Communism, crosses the border of Poland to join the ranks of the Red Army. His ideals are quickly shattered when he is arrested, court-martialed, and sentenced to death. How Bardach survives an endless barrage of brutality--from a near-fatal beating to the harsh conditions and slow starvation of the gulag existence--is a testament to human endurance under the most oppressive circumstances. Besides being of great historical significance, Bardach's narrative is a celebration of life and a vital affirmation of what it means to be human.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 6 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Record of life in Stalin's Siberian Labor Camp ( )
  Waltersgn | Apr 28, 2017 |
I really liked this memoir of the gulag, but found myself projecting survivor's guilt-- how did this guy survive such awfulness intact with all the suffering going on around him? I struggled with being angry with him for being so lucky and feeling guilty for that feeling. Weird. ( )
  obiebyke | Oct 23, 2009 |
It's heartbreaking but hopeful. I'm so glad I read this book. ( )
  cafe_girl | Dec 10, 2008 |
A harrowing story of a young man's flight from his native Poland, induction in the Red Army, and years of survival in the Soviet prison camps throughout World War Two. It is a marvel that Bardach was able to survive at all much less provide introspection of the human capacity to endure punishment, harsh environments, and each other. The book did not provide as much historical context as I was hoping for, however truly provided an indepth look at one man's attempt to endure. Bardach offers a sensitive description of his fellow prisoners, captors, and his experience through the Soviet Prison system. While many times wondering if his fate could become any worse, the next page proved in fact it could, which makes the book an intense read, I find Man is Wolf to Man very worthwhile and enjoyable. ( )
1 vote mfurlow | Jan 26, 2008 |
In 1941, accidentally rolling a Soviet tank while fording a river was considered a capital offence by the Red Army. Unfortunately for young Janusz Bardach, he committed just such an error; luckily for him an old acquaintance from his hometown in Poland had enough rank and influence to commute the court-martial penalty from death to 10 years hard labour in Siberia. For the next four years, Bardach endured hellish conditions in various labour camps--first a logging camp, then a gold mine in the frozen north. Frigid temperatures, inadequate food and clothing combined with physical and spiritual malaise to bring prisoners first to the edge of despair and then to the brink of suicide. Bardach survived by turning his mind off, by refusing to remember happier times or to anticipate the future. He became, simply, a beast of burden, shuffling through the hours of his slavery until he could fall into the brief oblivion of sleep.

Ironically, it was a near brush with death that proved to be Bardach's salvation. After surviving an explosion, he was sent to a prison hospital where he managed to talk his way into a job as a medical assistant. There he gained both a new lease on life and a future profession. Released from his sentence early, in 1945, Bardach went on to become a surgeon. His memoir, Man Is Wolf to Man, is more than just an account of his sufferings in a Russian labour camp; it is also a meditation on the will to survive in the face of hopelessness, the occasional kindnesses of strangers in unexpected places, and above all, the struggle to remain human under the most inhumane conditions.

A record of survival in the Kolyma prison camp in Siberia, written by a Jewish Pole and Communist sympathiser, who was sentenced to ten years hard labour for a minor infraction. Bardach exposes not only the human suffering of the camps, but the paranoia and corruption of Stalin's regime.
2 vote antimuzak | Dec 26, 2005 |
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Janusz Bardachautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Gleeson, KathleenEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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FROM THE BOOK:"The pit I was ordered to dig had the precise dimensions of a casket. The NKVD officer carefully designed it. He measured my size with a stick, made lines on the forest floor, and told me to dig. He wanted to make sure I'd fit well inside." In 1941 Janusz Bardach's death sentence was commuted to ten years' hard labor and he was sent to Kolyma--the harshest, coldest, and most deadly prison in Joseph Stalin's labor camp system--the Siberia of Siberias. The only English-language memoir since the fall of communism to chronicle the atrocities committed during the Stalinist regime, Bardach's gripping testimony explores the darkest corners of the human condition at the same time that it documents the tyranny of Stalin's reign, equal only to that of Hitler. With breathtaking immediacy, a riveting eye for detail, and a humanity that permeates the events and landscapes he describes, Bardach recounts the extraordinary story of this nearly inconceivable world. The story begins with the Nazi occupation when Bardach, a young Polish Jew inspired by Soviet Communism, crosses the border of Poland to join the ranks of the Red Army. His ideals are quickly shattered when he is arrested, court-martialed, and sentenced to death. How Bardach survives an endless barrage of brutality--from a near-fatal beating to the harsh conditions and slow starvation of the gulag existence--is a testament to human endurance under the most oppressive circumstances. Besides being of great historical significance, Bardach's narrative is a celebration of life and a vital affirmation of what it means to be human.

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