Little Stalins

Iron Curtain
The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956
Anne Applebaum
Doubleday, $35, 566 pp.

Karl Marx was wrong: Wars, not revolutions, are “the locomotives of history.” Like a devastating storm, war sweeps away the people, institutions, and attitudes that stand in its path, and on this wreckage-strewn landscape, war creates opportunities for the leaders, organizations, and ideas that promise to master its destructive fury. Nowhere was the interplay of war’s destructive and creative energies more apparent than in Eastern Europe during the first half of...

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About the Author

James J. Sheehan, professor emeritus of history at Stanford University, is the author of Where Have All the Soldiers Gone?: The Transformation of Modern Europe, among other books.