Stalin

Stalin

by Robert Service

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Overview

Overthrowing the conventional image of Stalin as an uneducated political administrator inexplicably transformed into a pathological killer, Robert Service reveals a more complex and fascinating story behind this notorious twentieth-century figure. Drawing on unexplored archives and personal testimonies gathered from across Russia and Georgia, this is the first full-scale biography of the Soviet dictator in twenty years.

Service describes in unprecedented detail the first half of Stalin's life—his childhood in Georgia as the son of a violent, drunkard father and a devoted mother; his education and religious training; and his political activity as a young revolutionary. No mere messenger for Lenin, Stalin was a prominent activist long before the Russian Revolution. Equally compelling is the depiction of Stalin as Soviet leader. Service recasts the image of Stalin as unimpeded despot; his control was not limitless. And his conviction that enemies surrounded him was not entirely unfounded.

Stalin was not just a vengeful dictator but also a man fascinated by ideas and a voracious reader of Marxist doctrine and Russian and Georgian literature as well as an internationalist committed to seeing Russia assume a powerful role on the world stage. In examining the multidimensional legacy of Stalin, Service helps explain why later would-be reformers—such as Khrushchev and Gorbachev—found the Stalinist legacy surprisingly hard to dislodge.

Rather than diminishing the horrors of Stalinism, this is an account all the more disturbing for presenting a believable human portrait. Service's lifetime engagement with Soviet Russia has resulted in the most comprehensive and compellingportrayal of Stalin to date.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780330518376
Publisher: Macmillan UK
Publication date: 06/08/2010
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 715
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 2.20(d)

About the Author

Robert Service is a Fellow of the British Academy and Professor of Russian History at Oxford University.

Table of Contents

Preface

A Note on Renderings

Maps

ONE: THE REVOLUTIONARY

1. Stalin As We Have Known Him

2. The Family Dzhughashvili

3. The Schooling of a Priest

4. Poet and Rebel

5. Marxist Militant

6. The Party and the Caucasus

7. On the Run

8. At the Centre of the Party

9. Koba and Bolshevism

10. Osip of Siberia

11. Return to Petrograd

TWO: LEADER FOR THE PARTY

12. The Year 1917

13. October

14. People's Commisar

15. To the Front

16. The Polish Corridor

17. With Lenin

18. Nation and Revolution

19. Testament

20. The Opportunities of Struggle

21. Joseph and Nadya

22. Factionalist Against Factions

THREE: DESPOT

23. Ending the Nep

24. Terror-Economics

25. Ascent to Supremacy

26. The Death of Nadya

27. Modernity's Sorcerer

28. Fears in Victory

29. Ruling the Nations

30. Mind of Terror

31. The Great Terrorist

32. The Cult of Impersonality

33. Brutal Reprieve

FOUR: WARLORD

34. The World in Sight

35. Approaches to War

36. The Devils Sup

37. Barbarossa

38. Fighting On

39. Sleeping on the Divan

40. To the Death!

41. Supreme Commander

42. The Big Three

43. Last Campaigns

44. Victory!

FIVE: THE IMPERATOR

45. Delivering the Blow

46. The Outbreak of the Cold War

47. Subjugating Eastern Europe

48. Stalinist Rulership

49. Policies and Purges

50. Emperor Worship

51. Dangerous Liasons

52. Vozhdand Intellectual

53. Ailing Despot

54. Death and Embalming

55. After Stalin

Glossary

Notes

Select Bibliography

Index

What People are Saying About This

Robert Service's brilliant biography of Stalin is a major work: the fruit of long research, profound insight and understanding of his subject. It offers a truly rounded and thoroughly readable portrait of this monstrous figure.

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Stalin: A Biography 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
everfresh1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and convincing portrait. I wish it would be a little more compressed.
nicky_too on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Robert Service does not write easy books. He uses a lot of difficult words (especially if English is not your native language). Thankfully he gets the point across regardless.I have to say I'm happy I've read "Lenin" as well and before I started on "Stalin". Reading them in succession helps to complete the picture. Obviously some things will be mentioned in both books, but you do get a different point of view. This obviously adds to the overall story.Apparently there is not a lot of genuine information to be found on Stalin, but I get the idea that Robert Service managed to put together quite a bit in the end. I find the book very complete and it comes across as very honest.When I started reading both biographies I was just curious about Russia's political history and the significance of these two men. Being brought up in a pro-American society meant I simply didn't know much about them. It was quite a read, but well worth it if you want to get a good idea of the period from just before the October Revolution to somewhere in the fifties.
john257hopper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very absorbing and full biography, probably the best I have read about Stalin (along with Montefiore's Court of the Red Tsar). Gives more coverage both to international affairs and to the evolution of Stalin's world outlook over the years, than some others. The result is a richer biography, full of sober and mature judgement, and free of the slightly more sensationalist coverage in some post-USSR works on Stalin, such as Radzinsky's.
quaylofsik_1917 More than 1 year ago
i really like this book it told things about stalin that i never thought it would have, such as his child hood with his drunk bastard of a father and his mother who may have been sleeping around. it also shows why he didnt like capitalism and show what lead him to become makings of a communist super power. It also showed other things that were going on around him, like the state of the empire while he was in siberia. It was also one of the first history books that was easier to get into, it had more of a story kinda of writing then a text book, very good book
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robert Service does an outstanding job of writing out the life of Joseph Stalin. Though much of the book's information comes from the memoirs of Trotsky and Krushchev, this is a well written biography. Not only does does Service focus on Stalin, but he also brings into account of major influences in his life such as Lenin, Churchill, Roosevelt, and his own party elite.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I SAW ROBERT SERVICE ON TV BEING INTERVIEWED FOR HIS BOOK'STALIN' AND HAD TO GO OUT AND BUY HIS BOOK RIGHT AWAY. HE HAD DONE ALOT OF RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION ON STALINS LIFE INCLUDING NEVER BEFORE SEEN FILES THAT WERE UNCOVERED FROM THE SOVIET VAULTS. IT WAS REALLY INTRESTING TO FIND OUT HOW STALIN READ ALOT AND WROTE IN THE MARGIN. THIS IS THE NEWEST BOOK ON STALIN BY ROBERT SERVICE MIGHT SHED SOME NEW LIGHT ON WORLD WAR 2 AND POSSIBLY SOME OF THE COLD WAR QUESTIANS.STALIN KILLED ALOT OF INNOCENT VICTIMS .