Robert Conquest's The Harvest of Sorrow helped to reveal to the West the true and staggering human cost of the Soviet regime in its deliberate starvation of millions of peasants and remains one of the most important works of Soviet history ever written.
More deaths resulted from the actions described in this book than from the whole of the First World War.
Epic in scope and rich in detail, The Harvest of Sorrow describes how millions of peasants in the USSR were dispossessed and deported as a result of the abolition of private property, and how millions in the newly established ‘collective’ farms of the Ukraine and other regions were then deliberately starved to death through impossibly high quotas, the removal of all other sources of food and their isolation from outside help.
With the publication of this and his earlier book, The Great Terror, which revealed the truth about Stalin’s political purges, Robert Conquest revealed to the West the staggering human cost of the Soviet regime.
When Stalin began his "revolution from above'' to collectivize Soviet agriculture, he was actually, as Conquest proves, launching a two-pronged attack: crushing the peasantry of the U.S.S.R. as a whole and destroying the Ukrainian nation. Between 1929 and 1932, millions of people were executed or deported to the Arctic in the drive to eliminate private farms. In the ensuing ``terror-famine,'' the Party set impossible grain quotas on Ukrainian farmers while waging an assault on Ukrainian cultural centers and churches. The story of this tragedy has not been fully told before, and Conquest (The Great Terror pieces it together from interviews with survivors, letters, testimony of Party activists and government documents. His powerful chronicle reveals for the first time the full dimensions of a campaign of state terror that, in all, claimed over 14 million lives, according to the author's convincing estimates. Nor does Conquest spare Western sympathizers like Sidney and Beatrice Webb, who helped promote Stalin's myth of the existence of an exploitative class of rich, unpopular ``kulaks.''