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Up Against the Wall By Vincent Hunt

Up Against the Wall by Vincent Hunt

Condition - Very Good
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A hundred years of oppression, seen through the eyes of Latvians - first as the oppressors, then as the oppressed. After WWII and the Cold War, Latvia experienced fifty years of Soviet domination. The KGB's methods are laid bare in true stories of interrogation, torture, execution and deportation to Siberia: this is not for the squeamish.

Up Against the Wall Summary

Up Against the Wall: The KGB and Latvia by Vincent Hunt

A hard-hitting history of the Soviet security police in totalitarian Latvia - with Latvians as both oppressors and oppressed.Through the stories of people held as prisoners, never told before in English,Up Against the Wall details the methods of a brutal totalitarian regime and the bloody twists and turns of Latvia's long and complicated relationship with the Soviet security police. This is not for the squeamish. At the KGB headquarters in Riga - the Corner House, or SturaMaja - suspects were questioned and executed during the 'Year of Terror' in 1940-41. When the Soviets returned in 1944 vast numbers of Latvians fled and a war of resistance fought from the forests by partisans lasted nearly a decade. The years of Soviet rule ended only in 1991. The author presents harrowing personal testimonies of those imprisoned, tortured and deported to Siberian gulags by the KGB, drawing from museum archives and interviews translated into English for this book as well as from declassified CIA files, KGB records and his own research in Latvia. He interviews human rights activists, partisans, KGB experts and those who led Latvia to independence in the 1990s and explores the role of Latvian KGB double agents in defeating anti-Soviet partisan groups and the West's Cold War spying missions. Ironically it was the feared Latvian Riflemen who helped crush the Bolsheviks' political rivals after the 1917 Revolution and defeat the British-backed White generals in the vicious Civil War of 1918-22, while Latvia itself became independent. Their reward was top jobs in the Soviet regime, including in the Cheka security police, the forerunner to the NKVD and KGB. But Stalin turned on the Latvians in the 1930s and mercilessly purged the old guard. When the Baltics were carved up by Hitler and Stalin, the Red Army killed or deported anyone opposing Soviet power in a period known as the 'Year of Terror'. Fifty years of occupation followed WWII as through the Cold War and into the late 1980s Latvian society was in the grip of the KGB. For 27 years after the collapse of the Soviet regime Latvian politicians argued over whether to publish the secret files of KGB agents. The book's final chapter deals with the decision in December 2018 for the 'Cheka Bags' to be opened, making Latvia's last KGB secrets public.

Up Against the Wall Reviews

This book should be in every thinktank and university whose area of interest is the post-Soviet space, and especially the Baltic countries.

About Vincent Hunt

A former BBC documentary maker, Vincent Hunt has crossed America, Europe and Africa gathering personal stories for documentaries about the US civil rights movement, post-colonial Africa, Irish migration and the demise of the UK's shipbuilding and steel industry communities.

Additional information

Up Against the Wall: The KGB and Latvia by Vincent Hunt
Used - Very Good
Helion & Company
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - Up Against the Wall