by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz (reviewer)
The Mass Deportation of Poles to Siberia, 1863-1880
by Andrew A. Gentes (author)
A leading expert on imperial Russia’s penal issues, including St. Petersburg’s use and abuse of Siberia as its favorite dumping ground for undesirables, Andrew A. Gentes, has given us a rare treat: a well-researched and trenchantly argued monograph on The Mass Deportation of Poles to Siberia, 1863-1880 (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). This is a study of Russian deportation policies and the Tsar’s treatment of an imperial minority group (p. viii-ix). Namely, Gentes has focused on an unfashionable minority of the Russian Empire: the Poles. “The mass deportation of Poles between 1863 and 1880 was perhaps the largest forced migration of Europeans prior to World War I. It resulted in thousands upon thousands of personal tragedies, a small minority of which were ever documented” (p. 79). Yet, their harrowing ordeal under Mother Russia’s and Little Father’s (batiushka) Tsar has been grossly neglected lately by English-speaking academia.