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Montefiore, Simon Sebag
ISBN: 9780297850687Category:


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‘The most civilized and elegant chronicle of brutality and ruthlessness I have ever read.’ Ruth Rendell, Daily Telegraph. Stalin remains one of the creators of our world – like Hitler, the personification of evil. Yet Stalin hid his past and remains mysterious. This enthralling biography that reads like a thriller finally unveils the secret but extraordinary journey of the Georgian cobbler’s son who became the Red Tsar. What forms such a merciless psychopath and consummate politician? Was he illegitimate? Did he owe everything to his mother – was she whore or saint? Was he a Tsarist agent or Lenin’s chief gangster? Was he to blame for his wife’s premature death? If he really missed the 1917 Revolution, how did he emerge so powerful?Born in poverty, exceptional in his studies, this charismatic but dangerous boy was hailed as a romantic poet, trained as a priest, but found his mission as fanatical revolutionary. The secret world of Joseph Conrad-style terrorism was Stalin’s natural habitat, where he charmed his future courtiers, made the enemies he later liquidated, and abandoned his many mistresses and children. The mastermind of bank-robberies, protection-rackets, extortion, arson, piracy and murder was, uniquely, part-intellectual, part-brigand. Montefiore shows how the murderous paranoia and gangsterism of the criminal underworld, combined with pitiless ideology, taught Stalin how to triumph in the Kremlin – and create the USSR in his flawed image.Based on massive research and astonishing new evidence, YOUNG STALIN is a history of the Russian Revolution, a pre-history of the USSR – and a fascinatingly intimate biography: this is how Stalin became Stalin. We know him as Stalin, or Josef Stalin, but before he settled on this alias he had at least a dozen others, including Koba and Soso. His youthful friends were responsible for most of his monikers, which were sometimes taken of necessity to escape from the Okhrana (secret police) and the local police. No book published in the last 100 years goes into as much detail about the youthful Stalin as Montefiore’s does. Unlike Sarah Davies and James Harris’s Stalin: A

New History , which has a 25-page chapter covering Stalin’s youth, Montefiore (Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar ) uses many newly available archival records from Stalin’s peers to greatly amplify information on the man’s early years and his growing attachment to the revolutionary movement. Stalin’s early experiences shaped his paranoia for the rest of his life, and his revolutionary experiences reinforced it. Montefiore says, The machine of repression, the flinthearted, paranoid psychology of perpetual conspiracy and the taste for extreme bloody solutions to all challenges were not just accidents, but glamorized and institutionalized. He was patron of these brutal tendencies but also their personification.” Montefiore goes on to refute the notion that Stalin was a double agent of the Okhrana and that he “”missed the revolution

Additional Information

AuthorMontefiore, Simon Sebag
Number of pages397
Year Published2007
Binding Type