At the end of WWII, the Soviet Union, to its surprise and delight, found itself in control of a huge swath of territory in Central Europe. It set out to convert a dozen radically different countries to a completely new political and moral system, Communism. Iron Curtain describes how the communist regimes of Eastern Europe were created, and what daily life was like once they were complete. Applebaum draws on newly opened European archives and personal accounts translated for the first time to portray in devestating detail millions of individuals trying to adjust to a way of life that challenged their every belief, rendered worthless their every qualification, and took everything away they had accumulated. Today the Soviet Block is a lost civilization, once whose cruelty, paranoia, bizarre morality and strange aethestics Applebaum captures in the electrifying pages of this book.