‘I am in jail in Russia. Go to the nearest police station and report it. Matter of dead or live. Save me please and all the others.’
The author discovered this plea inscribed on a wooden tag smuggled out of a Soviet Gulag camp whilst carrying out research in a State Department Archive. Based on official records, memoirs, newspaper reports and interviews, The Forsaken describes the fate of the thousands of Americans who, in the 1930s in the depths of the Great Depression, emigrated to the communist Soviet Union, lured by the prospect of racial equality and honest work under Stalin’s Five Year Plan. They were, however, betrayed both by Stalin’s Russia and by their own countrymen, when the US embassy failed to protect US citizens caught up in the Terror.