Drawings from the Gulag, by Danzig Baldaev.
This book is INTENSE and really amazing. It’s a firsthand document by Baldaev, styled like a graphic novel with depictions of the horrors perpetrated to and by prisoners in the Gulag in mid-1900s Russia.
A quote, from the introduction: “Baldaev’s widow has explained how around a fifth of the drawings are from first-hand experience. The rest of the images are the result of the artist’s meticulous research, speaking to fellow NKVD officers and prisoners about particular incidents, practises, and procedures. He wanted the drawings to be accurate in every detail, from a slogan on a placard, to a collar on a uniform. His father was an ethnographer who had been arrested as an ‘enemy of the people’ and sent to the Gulag, while Baldaev and his sisters were sent to an orphanage for Family Members of Enemies of the People…despite becoming part of the system, he wanted to expose the lie behind it. He soaked up the evidence before him and committed it to paper, spending twenty years working at home, in secret, on these drawings. If he had been discovered he would certainly have suffered the same fate as the Gulag victims he so assidously depicted.”