Young Stalin

Young Stalin

Book - 2007
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Stalin, like Hitler, remains the very personification of evil but also one of the creators of today's world. Now in an enthralling biography that reads like a thriller, Simon Sebag Montefiore unveils the shadowy, adventurous journey of the Georgian cobbler's son who became the Red Tsar.What makes a Stalin? Was he illegitimate? Was his mother whore or saint? Was Stalin a Tsarist agent or Lenin's chief gangster? Was his most notorious heist planned during his stay in London? Was he to blame for his wife's death? If he really missed the 1917 Revolution, how did he emerge so powerful?Born in poverty, scarred by his upbringing, exceptional in his studies, this charismatic but dangerous boy was hailed as a romantic poet and trained as a priest but found his mission as fanatical revolutionary. He became the mastermind of bank robberies, protection-rackets, arson, piracy, and murder yet he was, uniquely part-intellectual, part-brigand. Surprisingly, he is also revealed as a scandalously prolific lover, leaving a trail of mistresses (varying from schoolgirls to noblewomen) and illegitimate children. Her is the arch-conspirator and escape-artist whose brutal ingenuity so impressed Lenin that he made Stalin (with Trotsky) his top henchman. The paranoid underworld of Joseph Conrad-style terrorism was Stalin's natural habitat. Montefiore shows how murderous Caucasian banditry and political gangsterism, combined with pitiless ideology, qualified Stalin to demonstrate the Kremlin - and create the USSR in his flawed image. Based on massive research and astonishing new evidence in archives from Moscow to Georgia, YOUNG STALIN, companion and prequel to bestselling, prizewinning STALIN: THE COURT OF THE RED TSAR, is a chronicle of the Revolution, a pre-history of the USSR - and an intimate biography: this is how Stalin became Stalin.
Publisher: Toronto : McArthur, 2007.
ISBN: 9781552786468
Characteristics: xxviii, 397 p., [32] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports. ; 24 cm.


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Oct 23, 2015

Anyone interested in Russian history, or Georgian history will love this book. But so will people interested in how other people develop and change (or don't) and how personalities are shaped will find this book rivetting. Stalin and his terror need not have been - but growing up where he did, in the times he did, and with his essential personality traits made it inevitable that, when he came to power, he would act as he did. Well researched, full of previously unknown facts, stories, and memoirs, this book deserves a beach chair, a sunny week, and a few cool drinks!

May 10, 2015

This thorough, highly footnoted work is a scholarly document that details how Stalin became Stalin. The story allows us to see him as a person, his strengths and follies, his superior mind and his drive. His greatest crimes against humanity, indeed his own people, lay in the future from this story but one can see the path clearly from here. I do think there is some overly detailed reporting, a bit much flipping between name and nickname and an understandable bias against one of the greatest villains of all time, but nevertheless a readable and enlightening account.

Dec 15, 2014

thoroughly researched master piece. unbiased, insightful and very fascinating.
5 star work

Oct 24, 2009

This is a highly readable book, perhaps over-detailed for someone seeking a slightly more than cursory look at Stalin. I found it enlightening as to his character and how he rose to the top.

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