Summary of Bloodlands

Looking for the book?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 10 minutes.

Bloodlands book summary


10 Overall

10 Importance

9 Innovation

10 Style


So much has been written about the atrocities committed in Eastern Europe during the 1930s and 1940s – not to mention all the feature films and documentaries – that casual observers of history might think they already know this story. Then along comes Yale historian Timothy Snyder, who recasts the drama of the 14 million people starved, shot and gassed during a 12-year period. Snyder precisely documents how Stalin and Hitler utilized the “bloodlands” – the borderlands between their nations – to execute their genocidal plans. Snyder’s great contribution is to “turn the numbers back into people.” getAbstract thinks his meticulous history should be required reading, particularly for new generations who may not understand the full horror or impact of Europe’s greatest murder mystery. And what is that mystery? It is not who committed the crimes or why; that is mostly known from this source and many others. Rather it is how each victim faced death, often in the most cruel circumstances, and how the killers, millions of people, and their witnesses, millions more, lived with these crimes, and even justified them.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Hitler and Stalin divided the bloodlands,
  • How both used starvation as a weapon,
  • How their genocidal atrocities proceeded, and
  • How Warsaw may have suffered the most under both the Russians and the Germans.

About the Author

Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder specializes in the Holocaust and Central and Eastern Europe.




With the end of World War I, Europe fractured, populations dispersed and emperors gave way to elected leaders. Eastern Europe, or the bloodlands, became a buffer between Germany and the Soviet Union. The territory stretched from the Baltics south through Belarus, Poland and the Ukraine. Here in the brackish currents of ethnicity, race and tribe, Stalin and Hitler pressed their ideologies and their dreams for empire – dreams that cost the lives of 14 million people.

Comment on this summary

  • Avatar
  • Avatar
    IRINA PETROVA 8 months ago
    Poor non-sence.
  • Avatar
    Maktoum Saeed Al-Maktoum 3 years ago
    An important subject for history students and whom ever is interested in the tragic holocaust, but an importance of 10 is way over the top. With all due respect, how would a drug addict, an American homeless or an African orphan would benefit from this book? Emotions took their toll with this disappoint and unbalanced rating. This is not to belittle the events, but current tragedies deserve more attention since they can be stopped unlike the tragic holocaust where it ended with only only tears and memories left from it.
  • Avatar
    Karl-Henri Loiseau 3 years ago
    Maybe that's how summaries are supposed to be, but this was more of laundry list of facts. As a WWII buff of sorts, I already knew Germans and Russians killed people by the millions and knew of Sobibor, Treblinka, Katyn etc. Maybe I need to read the full book for more access to analysis, strategy or that human connection mentioned. Rated it a 7.
  • Avatar
    BYOUNGKWON LEE 4 years ago
    Good summary about the Bloodlands. There're lots of concepts and historical backgrounds. I had a chance to visit Poland, Germany and Russia as a business try.
    I had no idea why Hitler killed so many Jewish people before reading this summary. And the Holocaust is not everything in WW2. More than 14 million people were starved, shot, gassed in bloodlands. And 6 million Jews were dead.
    It makes me to have more historic question.
  • Avatar
    Amy Skubiata 4 years ago
    Good summary of WW 2. Very accurate and gives an extreme picture of how the Holocuast took place. Great summary of a a brief time period in which the number of people's lives that were lost equalled so many.

More on this topic

Contained in Knowledge Pack:

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category