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One Long Night
Cover of One Long Night
One Long Night
A Global History of Concentration Camps
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A groundbreaking, haunting, and profoundly moving history of modernity's greatest tragedy: concentration camps For over 100 years, at least one concentration camp has existed somewhere on Earth. First used as battlefield strategy, camps have evolved with each passing decade, in the scope of their effects and the savage practicality with which governments have employed them. Even in the twenty-first century, as we continue to reckon with the magnitude and horror of the Holocaust, history tells us we have broken our own solemn promise of "never again." In this harrowing work based on archival records and interviews during travel to four continents, Andrea Pitzer reveals for the first time the chronological and geopolitical history of concentration camps. Beginning with 1890s Cuba, she pinpoints concentration camps around the world and across decades. From the Philippines and Southern Africa in the early twentieth century to the Soviet Gulag and detention camps in China and North Korea during the Cold War, camp systems have been used as tools for civilian relocation and political repression. Often justified as a measure to protect a nation, or even the interned groups themselves, camps have instead served as brutal and dehumanizing sites that have claimed the lives of millions. Drawing from exclusive testimony, landmark historical scholarship, and stunning research, Andrea Pitzer unearths the roots of this appalling phenomenon, exploring and exposing the staggering toll of the camps: our greatest atrocities, the extraordinary survivors, and even the intimate, quiet moments that have also been part of camp life during the past century.
A groundbreaking, haunting, and profoundly moving history of modernity's greatest tragedy: concentration camps For over 100 years, at least one concentration camp has existed somewhere on Earth. First used as battlefield strategy, camps have evolved with each passing decade, in the scope of their effects and the savage practicality with which governments have employed them. Even in the twenty-first century, as we continue to reckon with the magnitude and horror of the Holocaust, history tells us we have broken our own solemn promise of "never again." In this harrowing work based on archival records and interviews during travel to four continents, Andrea Pitzer reveals for the first time the chronological and geopolitical history of concentration camps. Beginning with 1890s Cuba, she pinpoints concentration camps around the world and across decades. From the Philippines and Southern Africa in the early twentieth century to the Soviet Gulag and detention camps in China and North Korea during the Cold War, camp systems have been used as tools for civilian relocation and political repression. Often justified as a measure to protect a nation, or even the interned groups themselves, camps have instead served as brutal and dehumanizing sites that have claimed the lives of millions. Drawing from exclusive testimony, landmark historical scholarship, and stunning research, Andrea Pitzer unearths the roots of this appalling phenomenon, exploring and exposing the staggering toll of the camps: our greatest atrocities, the extraordinary survivors, and even the intimate, quiet moments that have also been part of camp life during the past century.
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About the Author-
  • Andrea Pitzer is the author of The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov. Her writing has appeared in USA Today, Slate, Lapham's Quarterly, and McSweeney's, among other publications. In 2009, she founded Nieman Storyboard, the narrative nonfiction site of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. She lives in Falls Church, Virginia.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 12, 2017
    In this engrossing history, Pitzer (The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov) traces the origins of concentration camps and follows their development over more than a century. In the 1890s, the Spanish military in Cuba rounded up indigenous civilians to separate them from the rebels who insisted on Cuban independence. Atrocities—rape, murder, starvation—ensued. Americans recoiled at Spain’s treatment of the reconcentrados, one of the reasons that the U.S. declared war against Spain in 1898. Yet by 1901, the U.S. military implemented a similar system in the Philippines to subdue anti-American rebels. Pitzer excels at focusing this sprawling history on the personal level. The suffering of Boer families and their African servants is told from the perspective of British welfare activist Emily Hobhouse, who tirelessly worked to help the detainees. The most astonishing story belongs to Margarete Buber-Neumann, a German-born Communist living in Moscow when she was arrested and imprisoned in one of Stalin’s Gulags in 1938. A little more than a year later, as part of a prisoner exchange between Germany and Russia, she ended up at Ravensbrück, one of the Nazi concentration camps. The end of WWII didn’t bring an end to these camps and Pitzer ends where she began—in Cuba, at Guantánamo Bay. “Like a cunning virus,” Pitzer chillingly observes, “they evolve to survive.” Agent: Katherine Boyle, Veritas Literary.

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One Long Night
One Long Night
A Global History of Concentration Camps
Andrea Pitzer
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