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Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union

Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union

by Kevin Cunningham

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The life of Joseph Stalin is one tinged with paranoia, mass murder, and power almost beyond belief. The son of a poor Georgian family, Joseph Stalin rose to the position of absolute ruler of the Soviet Union. During his nearly three decades of rule, Stalin presided over the forced collectivization of agriculture, mass purges, the horrors of World War II, and the creation of a massive police state based upon terror. While there is no way to accurately gauge the human cost of Stalin's years in power, some experts estimate that as many as sixty million people died due to the orders of this man. Kevin Cunningham tackles this influential yet utterly brutal figure and does a fine job of detailing Stalin's life and times. Readers encounter a man who lifted himself up out of an abusive home to become a critical player in the early years of the Bolshevik's revolutionary efforts. Once the Russian Revolution was complete, Stalin carved his bureaucratic niche within the party and waited for the right opportunities. With cold-blooded ruthlessness, Stalin paved the way for his dictatorship and then protected it from all actual and perceived foes. In the end, as the author of this compelling biography notes, Stalin's crimes were revealed and his image tarnished. By telling the story of this powerful yet innately corrupt man, Kevin Cunningham has crafted a book of great value. 2006, Morgan Reynolds, Ages 12 up.
—Greg M. Romaneck
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-This informative biography emphasizes Stalin's role in the creation and evolution of the Soviet Union. It opens with the Georgian's arrival in Vienna in 1913, where he was sent by Lenin to do research on the many national groups living in Russia. There he met other important underground figures, who later became his rivals. The first three chapters then trace Stalin's life and his role as a revolutionary through 1917. Civil war and Stalin's rise to power and his determination to industrialize the country and force the peasants into collectivized farms despite the great human suffering that these policies cost are discussed. Cunningham details the terror unleashed by Stalin in the 1930s. Subsequent chapters examine World War II and its aftermath. Throughout the book, the author speculates on aspects of Stalin's personal life that probably fed into his ruthlessness and provides an excellent broader historical context where needed. Black-and-white and full-color photos, maps, and reproductions of cartoons, posters, and paintings are an added bonus, and the layout is attractive. A fine acquisition.-Elizabeth Talbot, University of Illinois, Champaign Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Morgan Reynolds Pub
Publication date:
Morgan Reynolds World Leaders Series
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.68(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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