School Library JournalGr 8 Up-Gottfried skillfully covers the period from the death of Lenin at the beginning of 1924 through the onset of World War II. In the first three chapters, he examines Stalin's rise to power and his consolidation of that power by ousting his competitors, controlling key appointments, and using the secret police. The chapter "Exporting Communism" adds an important global dimension with a discussion of the infiltration of the Communist Party in China, Spain, and the United States in the '30s. Two chapters cover the purges and trials of political figures and military leaders, the control of the mass media, and the widespread arrests of even ordinary citizens, who were sent to forced labor camps where so many perished. The final chapters describe the alliances and treacheries that led to World War II. Although Stalin died in 1953, the book ends somewhat abruptly with the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. However, one might assume that the war period and its aftermath will be covered in the third installment of this series. The book is exceptionally well written, and each chapter is carefully divided into short sections. The distracting presentation of quotes and black-and-white photographs in a skewed format on a red background might be intended to add drama, but that is better achieved by the graphics that introduce each chapter. A fine addition to most collections.-Elizabeth Talbot, University of Illinois, Champaign Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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