Drawing on newly opened archives in Russia and Kazakhstan as well as memoirs by actual prisoners, Barnes shows how the Gulag was integral to the Soviet goal of building a utopian socialist society. He takes readers into the Gulag itself, focusing on one outpost of the Gulag system in the Karaganda region of Kazakhstan, a location that featured the full panoply of Soviet detention institutions. Barnes traces the Gulag experience from its beginnings after the 1917 Russian Revolution to its decline following the 1953 death of Stalin.
Death and Redemption reveals how the Gulag defined the border between those who would reenter Soviet society and those who would be excluded through death.
Steven A. Barnes is associate professor of history and director of the Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Mason University.