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This widely acclaimed biography provides a vivid and riveting account of Stalin and his courtiers—killers, fanatics, women, and children—during the terrifying decades of his supreme power. In a seamless meshing of exhaustive research and narrative ?lan, Simon Sebag Montefiore gives us the everyday details of a monstrous life.We see Stalin playing his deadly game of power and paranoia at debauched dinners at Black Sea villas and in the apartments of the Kremlin. We witness first-hand how the dictator and his ...
This widely acclaimed biography provides a vivid and riveting account of Stalin and his courtiers—killers, fanatics, women, and children—during the terrifying decades of his supreme power. In a seamless meshing of exhaustive research and narrative ?lan, Simon Sebag Montefiore gives us the everyday details of a monstrous life.We see Stalin playing his deadly game of power and paranoia at debauched dinners at Black Sea villas and in the apartments of the Kremlin. We witness first-hand how the dictator and his magnates carried out the Great Terror and the war against the Nazis, and how their families lived in this secret world of fear, betrayal, murder, and sexual degeneracy. Montefiore gives an unprecedented understanding of Stalin’s dictatorship, and a Stalin as human and complicated as he is brutal.
The Georgian and the Schoolgirl
Nadya and Stalin had been married for fourteen years but it extended deeper and longer than that, so steeped was their marriage in Bolshevism. They had shared the formative experiences of the underground life and intimacy with Lenin during the Revolution, then the Civil War. Stalin had known her family for nearly thirty years and he had first met her in 1904 when she was three. He was then twenty-five and he had been a Marxist for six years.
Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili was not born on 21 December 1879, Stalin's official birthday. "Soso" was actually born in a tiny shack (that still exists) to Vissarion, or "Beso," and his wife Ekaterina, "Keke," née Geladze, over a year earlier on 6 December 1878. They lived in Gori, a small town beside the Kura River in the romantic, mountainous and defiantly un-Russian province of Georgia, a small country thousands of miles from the Tsar's capital: it was closer to Baghdad than St. Petersburg.* Westerners often do not realize how foreign Georgia was: an independent kingdom for millennia with its own ancient language, traditions, cuisine, literature, it was only consumed by Russia in gulps between 1801 and 1878. With its sunny climate, clannish blood feuds, songs and vineyards, it resembles Sicily more than Siberia.
Soso's father was a violent, drunken semi-itinerant cobbler who savagely beat both Soso and Keke. She in turn, as the child later recalled, "thrashed him mercilessly." Soso once threw a dagger at his father. Stalin reminisced how Beso and Father Charkviani, the local priest, indulged in drinking bouts together to the fury of his mother: "Father, don't make my husband a drunk, it'll destroy my family." Keke threw out Beso. Stalin was proud of her "strong willpower." When Beso later forcibly took Soso to work as a cobbling apprentice in Tiflis, Keke's priests helped get him back.
Stalin's mother took in washing for local merchants. She was pious and became close to the priests who protected her. But she was also earthy and spicy: she may have made the sort of compromises that are tempting for a penniless single mother, becoming the mistress of her employers. This inspired the legends that often embroider the paternity of famous men. It is possible that Stalin was the child of his godfather, an affluent innkeeper, officer and amateur wrestler named Koba Egnatashvili. Afterwards, Stalin protected Egnatashvili's two sons, who remained friends until his death and reminisced in old age about Egnatashvili's wrestling prowess. Nonetheless, one sometimes has to admit that great men are the children of their own fathers. Stalin was said to resemble Beso uncannily. Yet he himself once asserted that his father was a priest.
Stalin was born with the second and third toes of his left foot joined. He suffered a pock-marked face from an attack of smallpox and later damaged his left arm, possibly in a carriage accident. He grew up into a sallow, stocky, surly youth with speckled honey-coloured eyes and thick black hair-a kinto, Georgian street urchin. He was exceptionally intelligent with an ambitious mother who wanted him to be a priest, perhaps like his real father. Stalin later boasted that he learned to read at five by listening to Father Charkviani teaching the alphabet. The five-year-old then helped Charkviani's thirteen-year-old daughter with her reading.
In 1888, he entered the Gori Church School and then, triumphantly, in 1894, won a "five rouble scholarship" to the Tiflis Seminary in the Georgian capital. As Stalin later told a confidant, "My father found out that along with the scholarship, I also earned money (five roubles a month) as a choirboy . . . and once I went out and saw him standing there: " 'Young man, sir,' said Beso, 'you've forgotten your father . . . Give me at least three roubles, don't be as mean as your mother!'
" 'Don't shout!' replied Soso. 'If you don't leave immediately, I'll call the watchman!' " Beso slunk away.* He apparently died of cirrhosis of the liver in 1909.
Stalin sometimes sent money to help his mother but henceforth kept his distance from Keke whose dry wit and rough discipline resembled his own. There has been too much cod-psychology about Stalin's childhood but this much is certain: raised in a poor priest-ridden household, he was damaged by violence, insecurity and suspicion but inspired by the local traditions of religious dogmatism, blood-feuding and romantic brigandry. "Stalin did not like to speak about his parents and childhood" but it is meaningless to over-analyse his psychology. He was emotionally stunted and lacked empathy yet his antennae were supersensitive. He was abnormal but Stalin himself understood that politicians are rarely normal: History, he wrote later, is full of "abnormal people."
The seminary provided his only formal education. This boarding school's catechismic teaching and "Jesuitical methods" of "surveillance, spying, invasion of the inner life, the violation of people's feelings" repelled, but impressed, Soso so acutely that he spent the rest of his life refining their style and methods. It stimulated this autodidact's passion for reading but he became an atheist in the first year. "I got some friends," he said, "and a bitter debate started between the believers and us!" He soon embraced Marxism.
In 1899, he was expelled from the seminary, joined the Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party and became a professional revolutionary, adopting the nom de revolution Koba, inspired by the hero of a novel, The Parricide, by Alexander Kazbegi, a dashing, vindictive Caucasian outlaw. He combined the "science" of Marxism with his soaring imagination: he wrote romantic poetry, published in Georgian, before working as a weatherman at the Tiflis Meteorological Institute, the only job he held before becoming one of the rulers of Russia in 1917.
"Koba" was convinced by the universal panacea of Marxism, "a philosophical system" that suited the obsessive totality of his character. The class struggle also matched his own melodramatic pugnacity. The paranoid secrecy of the intolerant and idiosyncratic Bolshevik culture dovetailed with Koba's own self-contained confidence and talent for intrigue. Koba plunged into the underworld of revolutionary politics that was a seething, stimulating mixture of conspiratorial intrigue, ideological nitpicking, scholarly education, factional games, love affairs with other revolutionaries, police infiltration and organizational chaos. These revolutionaries hailed from every background-Russians, Armenians, Georgians and Jews, workers, noblemen, intellectuals and daredevils-and organized strikes, printing presses, meetings and heists. United in the obsessional study of Marxist literature, there was always a division between the educated bourgeois émigrés, like Lenin himself, and the rough men of action in Russia itself. The underground life, always itinerant and dangerous, was the formative experience not only of Stalin but of all his comrades. This explains much that happens later.
In 1902, Koba won the spurs of his first arrest and Siberian exile, the first of seven such exiles from which he escaped six times. These exiles were far from Stalin's brutal concentration camps: the Tsars were inept policemen. They were almost reading holidays in distant Siberian villages with one part-time gendarme on duty, during which revolutionaries got to know (and hate) each other, corresponded with their comrades in Petersburg or Vienna, discussed abstruse questions of dialectical materialism, and had affairs with local girls. When the call of freedom or revolution became urgent, they escaped, yomping across the taiga to the nearest train. In exile, Koba's teeth, a lifelong source of pain, began to deteriorate.
Koba avidly supported Vladimir Lenin and his seminal work, What Is to Be Done? This domineering political genius combined the Machiavellian practicality of seizing power with mastery of Marxist ideology. Exploiting the schism that would lead to the creation of his own Bolshevik Party, Lenin's message was that a supreme Party of professional revolutionaries could seize power for the workers and then rule in their name in a "dictatorship of the proletariat" until this was no longer necessary because socialism had been achieved. Lenin's vision of the Party as "the advance detachment" of the "army of proletarians . . . a fighting group of leaders" set the militarist tone of Bolshevism.
In 1904, on Koba's return to Tiflis, he met his future father-in-law Sergei Alliluyev, twelve years his senior, a skilled Russian electrical artisan married to Olga Fedorenko, a strong-willed Georgian-German-Gypsy beauty with a taste for love affairs with revolutionaries, Poles, Hungarians, even Turks. It was whispered that Olga had an affair with the young Stalin, who fathered his future wife, Nadya. This is false since Nadezhda was already three when her parents first met Koba, but his affair with Olga is entirely credible and he himself may have hinted at it. Olga, who, according to her granddaughter Svetlana, had a "weakness for southern men," saying "Russian men are boors," always had a "soft spot" for Stalin. Her marriage was difficult. Family legend has Nadya's elder brother Pavel seeing his mother making up to Koba. Such short liaisons were everyday occurrences among revolutionaries.
Long before they fell in love, Stalin and Nadya were part of the Bolshevik family who passed through the Alliluyev household: Kalinin and Yenukidze among others at that dinner in 1932. There was another special link: soon afterwards, Koba met the Alliluyevs in Baku, and saved Nadya from drowning in the Caspian Sea, a romantic bond if ever there was one.
Koba meanwhile married another sprig of a Bolshevik family. Ekaterina, "Kato," a placid, darkly pretty Georgian daughter of a cultured family, was the sister of Alexander Svanidze, also a Bolshevik graduate of the Tiflis seminary who joined Stalin's Kremlin entourage. Living in a hut near the Baku oilfields, Kato gave him a son, Yakov. But Koba's appearances at home were sporadic and unpredictable.
During the 1905 Revolution, in which Leon Trotsky, a Jewish journalist, bestrode the Petersburg Soviet, Koba claimed he was organizing peasant revolts in the Kartli region of Georgia. After the Tsarist backlash, he travelled to a Bolshevik conference in Tammerfors, Finland-his first meeting with his hero, Lenin, "that mountain eagle." The next year, Koba travelled to the Congress in Stockholm. On his return, he lived the life of a Caucasian brigand, raising Party funds in bank robberies or "expropriations": he boasted in old age of these "heists . . . our friends grabbed 250,000 roubles in Yerevan Square!"
After visiting London for a Congress, Koba's beloved, half-ignored Kato died "in his arms" in Tiflis of tuberculosis on 25 November 1907. Koba was heartbroken. When the little procession reached the cemetery, Koba pressed a friend's hand and said, "This creature softened my heart of stone. She died and with her died my last warm feelings for people." He pressed his heart: "It's desolate here inside." Yet he left their son Yakov to be brought up by Kato's family. After hiding in the Alliluyevs' Petersburg apartment, he was recaptured and returned to his place of banishment, Solvychegodsk. It was in this remote one-horse town in January 1910 that Koba moved into the house of a young widow named Maria Kuzakova by whom he fathered a son.* Soon afterwards, he was involved in a love affair with a schoolgirl of seventeen named Pelageya Onufrieva. When she went back to school, he wrote: "Let me kiss you now. I am not simply sending a kiss but am KISSSSSING you passionately (it's not worth kissing otherwise)." The locals in the north Russified "Iosef" to "Osip" and his letters to Pelageya were often signed by her revealing nickname for him: "Oddball Osip."
After yet another escape, Koba returned to Petersburg in 1912, sharing digs with a ponderous Bolshevik who was to be the comrade most closely associated with him: Vyacheslav Scriabin, only twenty-two, had just followed the Bolshevik custom of assuming a macho nom de revolution and called himself that "industrial name" Molotov-"the hammer." Koba had also assumed an "industrial" alias: he first signed an article "Stalin" in 1913. It was no coincidence that "Stalin" sounds like "Lenin." He may have been using it earlier and not just for its metallic grit. Perhaps he borrowed the name from the "buxom pretty" Bolshevik named Ludmilla Stal with whom he had had an affair.
This "wonderful Georgian," as Lenin called him, was co-opted by the Party's Central Committee at the end of the Prague conference of 1912. In November, Koba Stalin travelled from Vienna to Cracow to meet Lenin with whom he stayed: the leader supervised his keen disciple in the writing of an article expressing Bolshevik policy on the sensitive nationality question, henceforth Stalin's expertise. "Marxism and the National Question," arguing for holding together the Russian Empire, won him ideological kudos and Lenin's trust.
"Did you write all of it?" asked Lenin (according to Stalin).
"Yes . . . Did I make mistakes?"
"No, on the contrary, splendid!" This was his last trip abroad until the Teheran Conference in 1943.
In February 1913, Stalin was rearrested and given a suspiciously light exile: was he an agent of the Tsar's secret police, the Okhrana? The historical sensationalism of Stalin's duplicity shows a naïve misunderstanding of underground life: the revolutionaries were riddled with Okhrana spies but many were double or triple agents.* Koba was willing to betray colleagues who opposed him though, as the Okhrana admitted in their reports, he remained a fanatical Marxist-and that is what mattered.
Stalin's final exile began in 1913 in the distant cold north-east of Siberia, where he was nicknamed "Pock-marked Joe" by the local peasants. Fearing more escapes, the exile was moved to Kureika, a desolate village in Turukhansk, north of the Arctic Circle where his fishing prowess convinced locals of magical powers and he took another mistress. Stalin wrote pitiful letters to Sergei and Olga Alliluyev: "Nature in this cursed region is shamefully poor" and he begged them to send him a postcard: "I'm crazy with longing for nature scenes if only on paper." Yet it was also, strangely, a happy time, perhaps the happiest of his life for he reminisced about his exploits there until his death, particularly about the shooting expedition when he skied into the taiga, bagged many partridges and then almost froze to death on the way back.
The military blunders and food shortages of the Great War inexorably destroyed the monarchy which, to the surprise of the Bolsheviks, collapsed suddenly in February 1917, replaced by a Provisional Government. On 12 March, Stalin reached the capital and visited the Alliluyevs: once again, Nadya, a striking brunette, sixteen, her sister Anna and brother Fyodor, questioned this returning hero about his adventures. When they accompanied him by tram towards the offices of the newspaper Pravda, he called out, "Be sure to set aside a room in the new apartment for me. Don't forget." He found Molotov editing Pravda, a job he immediately commandeered for himself. While Molotov had taken a radical anti-government line, Stalin and Lev Kamenev, né Rosenfeld, one of Lenin's closest comrades, were more conciliatory. Lenin, who arrived on 4 April, overruled Stalin's vacillations.
In a rare apology to Molotov, Stalin conceded, "You were closer to Lenin . . ." When Lenin needed to escape to Finland to avoid arrest, Stalin hid him chez Alliluyev, shaved off his beard and escorted him to safety.
Posted September 14, 2011
As a historian it pains me to write this but the writing is terrible. First off the book is written for students of Stalin not as a stand alone biography. You need come to this story with a significant amount of background knowledge on the hundreds of individuals introduced in the work as the author does not present much background on these individuals. He jumps around to different time periods with little regard for the timelines. And the writing is poorly done and not well structured.
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I first read the author's follow-up to this biography, Young Stalin, and enjoyed it so much I rushed to Barnes & Noble to find the first book. I can't remember the last time a nonfiction book has so captivated me. I disregarded all the other books in my stack "to be read" and dived right into this account of the court of the Red Tsar. My only disappointment is coming to the end of it.
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Posted May 24, 2013
I debated heavily on what to give this book. I agree with some of the reviews that note that this is not an easy book to read. One needs to be patient as a large number of persons with their very russian names are thrown at you early on (many who went by different names as is common ) and if you are not used to it one could get confused rather easily. However, don't give up on it. If you are patient and continue reading the names start to come together. By the time I finished this book I felt like the author had successfully done his job. I had a much more complete knowledge of Stalin and those around him. I could go into how horrible I find his regime but anyone that reads this book won't need me or anyone to say a thing. If you are looking for a good book on Stalin and have a bit of patience to get your head around all the names this is a tremendous book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 1, 2013
---I AM NOT A SCHOLAR; BUT I DID LIVE THROUGH THIS PERIOD OF HISTORY. I COULD NOT PUT THE BOOK DOWN; I REALLY ENJOYED IT. IT WAS WONDERFULLY RESEARCHED.
---I FOUND AWKWARDNESS WITH THE ANTECEDENTS OF SOME PRONOUNS. ALSO, WHEN MONTHS AND DATES WERE REFERENCED, THE YEARS WERE NOT CLOSE BY OR REFERENCED AT ALL.
---OTHER THAN THE SLIGHT CRITIQUE ABOVE, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS VERY READABLE BIOGRAPHY!
Posted December 8, 2012
I knew very little of Stalin which is why I purchased this book. It is very informative. It can sometimes be confusing with all the characters that are involved and constant footnotes. The footnotes should have been incorporated into the regular text. I think the author did a great job in his depiction of Stalin but I can't exactly agree that Stalin was so much of an intellect as he was more of a bully with mental problems. Needless to say, I think it is a good book to read for the information it contained.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 26, 2012
Posted August 9, 2009
Posted April 9, 2008
Just a brief addition to the other comments - I read this book with great interest shortly before I visited Moscow. Reading this book made my visit to Moscow much more meaningful. The Cathedral of the Assumption was razed on Stalin's order - as was much of the rest of Moscow. They have rebuilt the church and there is a nice museum in the lower level - but only a few pieces of stone are left from the original structure thanks to Uncle Joe. In the Lubianka Beria would entertain desperate relatives as he knew their loved one was being tourtured one floor down. Calling this crowd 'gansters' is actually a compliment. The Russian word that best describes the time period is 'kashmar'.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 28, 2006
Don't be intimidated by this book's volume!It is a very quick entertaining, and informative read. It is truly amazing to see the true humanity and persona of the one who unleashed the Great Terror on the Soviet people. I highly recommend this book to anyone interesed in Russian, Eastern European, and military history.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 27, 2005
This is a curiously flawed but still fascinating book. The author's great contribution (if his findings are confirmed by others) is to show that Stalin was more intellectual, more of a committed Marxist-Leninist, more of hard working and organized leader than previously thought. He was not just a cunning, evil peasant-Tsar, though he was that too. The book is a wealth of facts -- many from newly opened archives -- about Stalin viewed 'up close and personal.' It details his sexual life, his surprisingly high brow taste in literature and music, his mania for all manner of movies, the fact that his mother told him she would have been prouder of him if he had become a priest. Like 'I Claudius,' or 'The Sopranos' the quotidian picture of ordinary daily life is mixed up with the most appalling, perverse violence. For example two of Stalin's closest aides' wives- including the wife of his foreign minister - were imprisoned while the aides worked day to day, warmly and loyally. Or when his son was captured by the Germans he had his daughter in law imprisoned and his own grandchild sent to an orphanage -- because he blamed his son for not committing suicide. Every chapter is filled with stuff such as the pediaphilia and other sexually predatory practices of various Stalinist magnates. Beria, for instance, cruised Moscow to pick up groups of teenage girls and rape them willy nilly. But there is something very wrong with the book . The author has an obsessional interest in details (and so the book is satisfying because the facts are so lurid and his command of the material so immense) but he is allergic to painting overall gestalts. Most frustrating is his failure to draw a coherent picture of Stalin's personality which would thread through the book and give it a 'spine.' Instead he lists Stalin's traits and habits. Was Stalin a paraonid personality as is widely believed - the author really doesn't address this question. The same failure to be able to turn on the wide focus lens is shown in not being able to draw summaries of the larger historical contexts for individual historical events. Finally this is the worst edited book I have ever read. The most interesting stuff is in the footnotes (Why not in the text?) and there are typos. In summary this is a flawed but nonetheless impressive bit of popular historical writing. Who for example would ever be able to forget an 'anectode' like this: Stalin was convinced that Hitler would not invade on June 22, 1941 despite many notices that the invasion was coming. The night before the invasion a German communist selflessly swam a river separating the two forces to warn the Russians that the Nazis were going to invade the next morning. The news was sent to Stalin who ordered that this brave German deserter was to be shot. Great guy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 7, 2005
Hands down, one of the most amusing books I have ever read about the Communist regime in Russia. In 'Gulag', one Communist official is aghast at the post-Stalinist thaw, fearful that the people would realize that the country was 'run by gangsters'. It was. This book reads exactly like the movie 'Goodfellas'. The Communists were, quite literally, Mafia thugs who got hold of an entire country. Most of history's governments have been little more than bands of thugs, but the Communists were a breed apart. Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 26, 2004
The title of my review says it all. Nothing dry or pretentious about this book. The narrative is compelling and fascinating. Stalin, in all his evil machinations, comes to life on these pages. A must read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 23, 2004
Before reading this thoroughly documented and excellent work of history on Stalin and his murderous henchmen, I read 'The Time of Stalin: Portrait of a Tyranny' by Anton Antonov-Ovseyenko who stated on pg 167: 'Stalin's main activity ...his true calling, was murder. No other tyrant, from Nero to Hitler, compares with Stalin in numbers killed.' After reading several books on this bloodthirsty madman by Radzinsky, Conquest, Medvedev, Amis, and especially this one by Montefiore, it's difficult to come to any other conclusion (although Chinese Communist dictator Mao Tse-tung might have him beat for the #1 slot). To quote the front flap: 'As many as 20 million Soviets died in his purges and infamous Gulag.' It seems as if nearly every page is filled with torture, suffering and brutal death. Some accounts send chills down the spine: 'Many prisoners were beaten so hard that their eyes were literally popped out of their heads. They were routinely beaten to death, which was registered as a heart attack.' (pg 246) 'Beria distinguished himself by personally performing the torture of Lakobas's family, driving his widow mad by placing a snake in her cell and beating his teenage children to death.' (pg 250) 'One of Eikhe's eyes had been gouged out and blood was streaming out of it but he went on repeating `I won't confess.' (pg 323) But it's the huge numbers deported and killed during various genocidal campaigns that really stun you: over two million deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan in 1931 (pg 64), four to ten million killed during the Great famine of 1932-33, which Montefiore describes as 'a tragedy unequalled in human history except by the Nazi and Maoist terrors' (pg 85), 1.5 million arrested during the Great Terror and about 700,000 shot. (pg 229) Stalin is quoted as saying during the height of the Great Terror 'Who's going to remember all this riffraff in ten or twenty years' time? No one. Who remembers the names now of the boyars Ivan the Terrible got rid of? No one...The people had to know he was getting rid of all his enemies. In the end, they all got what they deserved.' (pg 231) Ivan the Terrible was of course one of Stalin's idols. Montifore also notes that the above quote from Stalin is eerily similar to Hitler's comments on the genocide of the Jews, referring to the Turkish mass murder of Armenians: 'After all, who today speaks of the massacre of the Armenians?' Montefiore shows us Soviet crimes against humanity during the Second World War, which seem almost as bad as Nazi crimes. In Poland, for example, 'priests, officers, noblemen, intellectuals were kidnapped, murdered and deported to eliminate the very existence of Poland.' By November 1940, 1.17 million had been deported, 30% of whom perished by 1941. And 50,000 were shot. (pg 313) During the infamous massacre of some 26,000 Polish officers and intellectuals, 4,500 of whom were buried in mass graves at Katyn forest, one of the NKVD killers, Blokhin, put on a butcher's apron and cap then 'began one of the most prolific acts of mass murder by one individual, killing 7,000 in precisely twenty eight nights.' (pg 334) Soviet terror also ravaged the Baltic states: 34,250 Latvians, 60,000 Estonians and 75,000 Lithuanians were deported or murdered. (pg 334) And as the Soviets were closing in on Berlin, Russian soldiers raped an estimated 2 million German women in the coming months; even Russian women newly liberated from concentration camps were raped. As Montefiore states: 'Stalin cared little about this' (pg 479) The Court of the Red Tsar also makes clear that Stalin isn't solely to blame for all of this mayhem and murder, for it was his predecessor, V.I. Lenin, who set up this 'social system based on blood-letting.' Systematic murder started immediately after Lenin's 1917 coup and never stopped until Stalin's death in 1953. Lenin spent his entire adult life praising the bloody Jacobin terror of the French Revolution and boasted that 'A Revolution without firing squWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 28, 2004
This book presents many of the tired facts about Joe Stalin. He wore a mustache and drank vodka. Why would one spend thirty bucks for that information. True, there was interesting commentary about his constipation and hair dye, but in this day and age, who really cares?
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