This is a huge and masterful dual biography of two of the most monstrous personalities of this century. Bullock, whose Hitler: A Study in Tyranny ( LJ 2/15/64) truly deserves its designation as a classic, has produced a smoothly written study of how these two lives ran parallel and how they intertwined to affect the lives of millions in the first half of this century. One would expect Bullock to know Hitler, but his grasp of Stalin and his times is also impressive. In chapters alternately dealing with Hitler and then Stalin, Bullock analyzes how each man achieved and then used power for his own twisted goals. It is chilling to realize that both men rose within legitimate institutions, each ``playing the game'' by the established rules. Hitler's evil empire collapsed with his death, Stalin's would live on to haunt the Soviet Union for decades. Essential for anyone seeking to understand the history of the West in this century. Highly recommended. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/91.-- Ed Goedeken, Purdue Univ. Libs., West Lafayette, Ind.
A masterpiece by Bullock (Ernest Bevin, 1984, etc.) that covers some of the most devastating eventsas well as two of the most terrible personalitiesof our century with breathtaking analytical power and narrative sweep. One of the most fruitful aspects of this dual biography is to reveal, for all the differences between Hitler and Stalin, how much they had in common. The differences were mainly in personality: Stalin the great calculator, Hitler the gambler; Stalin the master of bureaucracy, Hitler the artist-politician, hating routine; Stalin the sly, political Houdini, Hitler the charismatic leader. But their similarities were perhaps more significant. Both were guilty of crimes against humanity on a scale unprecedented in history: Like the Jews in Germany, peasant farmers in the Soviet Union were members of an outlawed class denied all human rights. The corruption in the heart of Nazism, according to Bullock, lay in its ends; in Communism, in its means. Neither Hitler nor Stalin, he believes, was mad. Both were entirely serious about their historic roles, the author says; skeptical about the motives of others, their cynicism stopped short of their own. But Hitler, at the end, was close to insanity; and Stalin had all the symptoms associated with paranoiachronic suspicion, self-absorption, jealousy, hypersensitivity, and megalomania. Both men brought unprecedented suffering on their own people; the difference, Bullock notes, is that defeat exacted a terrible price from the German people, but at least spared them the continuation of Nazism, while victory cost the Russian people even morebut did not liberate them. A magnificent history, accessible andoften moving. Bullock's mastery of research sources, his judgment, and his analytic powers prove him one of the great historians of our time. (Seventy-one photographs and 18 mapsnot seen.)