Saturday, November 15, 2008

by Tim Tzouliadis

There is a photograph, from 1934, of young men on a baseball team. They are all from cities across America. One team is the Foreign Workers' Club of Moscow and they're playing against the Autoworkers' Club from nearby Gorky. They smile for the camera.
Thousands of families left the United States for the Five-Year Plan of Soviet Russia in search of a better life. Being unemployed during the Great Depression they were lured by the promise of jobs, plenty of food, a place to live.
They thought they were going to the "Promised Land."
Four years later most of these men will be arrested along with the rest of the Americans and become victims of Stalin's Terror. Some will be killed immediately. Others will be sent to labor camps where they will starve and be worked to death.
The book is an indictment of both Communism and the American government. Roosevelt was deaf, dumb and blind when it came to his dealings with the Soviets. His American Ambassador, Joseph Davies, was totally clueless, naive and oblivious who totally admired Joseph Stalin.
The Forsaken is a superb story of forgotten history. Tsouliadis captures the horrors, the guilt and the innocence in a meticulously researched epic tome.
Highly recommended.