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About The Book

In this volume, leading specialists examine the affinities and differences between the pan-Soviet famine of 1931–1933, the Ukrainian Holodomor, the Kazakh great hunger, and the famine in China in 1959–1961. The contributors presented papers at a conference organized by the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium in 2014.

The first three articles deal with famine within a single state or Soviet republic and the remaining three offer comparative perspectives. Nicholas Werth examines the dynamics of the economics and politics that led to the famines in the USSR and the Holodomor in Ukraine. Sarah Cameron explores the dynamics of and scholarship on the Kazakh famine. Zhou Xun characterizes the Great Famine in China as the largest in history and discusses sources she has assembled in the periods when the authorities permitted at least limited access. Lucien Bianco, a specialist on China, and Andrea Graziosi, a scholar of the Soviet Union, provide complementary discussions of the similarities and differences between these man-made famines. Niccolò Pianciola applies a transnational approach in looking at the large Central Asian steppe and the nomadic societies to explore famines in a geographic zone crossing political boundaries.

Thanks to increased access to archives and the efforts of the international scholarly community, we now have a sense of the dynamics, demographic impact, and consequences of the great political famines of the twentieth century, unleashed by Communist parties endowed with centralized planning mechanisms that they believed they could control and manipulate. In exploring the commonalities and specificities of the massive famines produced by the two largest Communist states, the authors also set forth numerous hypotheses and agendas for future research.

About The Authors

Frank Sysyn

Frank Sysyn

Frank E. Sysyn is Director of the Peter Jacyk Centre for Ukrainian Historical Research at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies and Editor-in-Chief of the Hrushevsky Translation Project. He is a co-editor of

Andrea Graziosi

Andrea Graziosi is full professor of contemporary history at the University of Naples \"Federico II\" (Università di Napoli \"Federico II\"), and co-director, history section, at the European School of Advanced Studies, in Naples. He is also President of the Italian National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research. He is a …


  1. Klejd Këlliçi’s review in Ab Imperio, Vol. 2, 2018, pp. 283-85.
  2. Anna Belogurova’s review in the Canadian Journal of History, Vol. 53, No. 2, Autumn 2018, pp. 366-68.

More For Less

The Holodomor Reader
Contextualizing the Holodomor
Communism and Hunger:
The Famine of 1932–1933 in Ukraine

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Together $101.44

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