Scholarship is not only about gaining new insights or establishing accurate knowledge but also about struggling for political impact and for market shares – shares of public or private funds, of academic jobs, of quotations by peers, and of media performances. Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands fights for recentring contemporary European history.1 No longer, his new book implies, should the centre of that history be Germany, which initiated two world wars and engaged with three genocides; even less should the centre be Western Europe, which historians for long have glorified as the trendsetter of modernity; and the Soviet Union, or Russia, does not qualify as ‘centre’ anyway. Introducing ‘to European history its central event’ (p. 380) means to focus on the eastern territories of Europe, the lands between Germany and Russia, which, according to Snyder, suffered more than any other part from systematic, politically motivated, mass murder in the twentieth century. The superior victimhood of the ‘bloodlands’ is a numerical one. Fourteen million people, Jewish and non-Jewish, in the territories of what is today most of Poland, the Ukraine, Belarus, western Russia, and the Baltic States did not become just casualties of war but victims of deliberate mass murder. Indeed, this is ‘a very large number’ (p. 411), one that stands many comparisons: ten million people perished in Soviet and German concentration camps (as opposed to the Nazi death camps, which were located within the ‘bloodlands’), 165,000 German Jews died during the Holocaust (p. ix), and even the number of war casualties most single countries or territories counted in the Second World War was smaller.