“...Snyder is particularly interesting and informative when it comes to the relationship between the German occupiers and local collaborators in eastern Europe, many of whom equated the brutal Soviet oppression they had suffered with the machinations of the Jewish world-conspiracy identified by the Nazis. Some collaborators had even worked for the Soviet secret police before the Nazis came and switched their allegiance seemingly without effort. To a degree, the genocide in Ukraine could even be regarded as a “joint creation” of the invaders and the invaded.
Snyder delivers what is surely the best and most unsparing analysis of eastern European collaborationism now available, though the preceding sections on the history of Polish and Russian antisemitism are perhaps longer and more detailed than was necessary. Overlong, too, are the chapters on partisan resistance, which was important, but doesn’t deserve to take up a fifth of the entire book. And although it is better by some distance than Snyder’s previous, overpraised book Bloodlands, Black Earth shares some of the same failings as that flawed work, delivering an account of the Holocaust that is skewed far too much towards eastern Europe; it also misunderstands the ideological roots of the genocide, which, as most historians would now agree, was set in motion not as an act of revenge against an imagined Jewish world conspiracy following the failure of Operation Barbarossa in December 1941, but as an act of hubris launched the previous July, as Hitler and the leading Nazis considered the operation a resounding success.”