It is not often that a new page of history is written. Nobody supposed that more than a handful of Americans fell victim to the NKVD’s executioners and the Gulag, and even then that handful were assumed to be Communist converts who invited their fate. In 2000, the International Foundation for Democracy in Moscow published a collection of documents and statistics for the Gulag that gave, for October 1937, the height of the Great Terror, a figure of just two British subjects and zero Americans imprisoned in the Gulag (although more may be swallowed up among the 437 ‘miscellaneous nationalities’), and for 1 January 1942, when Britain and the USA were allies of the USSR, five British subjects and six Americans.
These statistics from an unimpeachable group of Russian reformers determined to expose the truth about totalitarianism appear, unfortunately, to be wrong. In The Forsaken, Tim Tzouliadis tells the story of American workers in the Soviet Union, some of whom were laid off by Henry Ford in the Depression and then