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My Dear Son: The Memoirs of Stalin's…
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My Dear Son: The Memoirs of Stalin's Mother (Kindle Single)

by Keke Jughashvili

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This short book is a memoir dictated by Stalin's mother in August 1935, a couple of years before she died, detailing her own youth and the childhood and early youth of her son (here always called by his diminutive name, Soso). For anyone who knows about the life and times of the dictator, there is little or nothing that is revelatory here, but it is refreshing and unusual to hear the voice of a relatively poor late 18th century woman, the daughter of ex-serfs, living in what was then a province of the Russian empire, as she scrimped and saved, working long hours as seamstress to give her son an education and prevent his drunken father, Beso, from taking him our of school and make him follow in his footsteps as a cobbler. As the memoir ends, Soso has entered the seminary in Tbilisi, but to his mother's shock is growing more distant from her and getting into trouble, even being sent to prison. The book was needless to say never published in Soviet times and emerged from the Georgian archives only in the early 21st century; as a very human portrayal of Stalin as an ordinary boy growing up, it would not have been permitted in the atmosphere of growing hagiography of the leader in the mid 1930s as Stalin approached the pinnacle of his power. An interesting read. ( )
  john257hopper | Apr 12, 2017 |
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