This book should be required reading of all world citizens. Timothy Snyder outlines the policies and actions of Hitler and Stalin between 1933 and 1945 and the effect they had on the people living in Eastern Europe (Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and the Baltic states). The Nazis and the Soviets, murdered over 14 million people in direct mass murder campaigns and actions. This does not count the millions of soldiers lost or the casualties of civilian life and death in wartime, but only the deliberate actions of organized murder. To put this in perspective, I did some rough and horrifying math. Lying these victims of mass murder side by side would result in approximately 4 square miles of corpses. Lying end to end, the dead would stretch 13,257 miles. Synder emphasizes the risk of rounding the number. He puts names and stories with those trailing digits. And, he recounts the beautiful lives and tortured deaths they experienced. Made me mad, made me sad - and made me question how much we know at any point in real time the impact war has on civilians. How can we make our governments and ourselves more accountable to sharing these truths as they unfold - instead of through the diligent work of researchers and historians years in the future?
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