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Young Stalin (2007)

by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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9981916,236 (4.16)87
The shadowy journey from obscurity to power of the Georgian cobbler's son who became the Red Tsar--the man who, along with Hitler, remains the modern personification of evil: a merciless psychopath who was, as well, a consummate politician, the dynamic world statesman who helped create and industrialize the USSR, outplayed Churchill and Roosevelt, and defeated Hitler? Historian Montefiore tells the story of a charismatic, turbulent boy born into poverty, of doubtful parentage, scarred by his upbringing but possessed of unusual talents. Admired as a romantic poet and trained as a priest, he found his true mission as a fanatical revolutionary. A mastermind of bank robbery, protection rackets, arson, piracy and murder, he was equal parts terrorist, intellectual and brigand. The paranoid criminal underworld was Stalin's natural habitat, and murderous banditry and political gangsterism, combined with pitiless ideology, enabled Stalin to dominate the Kremlin--and create the USSR in his flawed image.--From publisher description.… (more)
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» See also 87 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Very detailed background on a young Stalin and his life. Be prepared to be inundated with a lot of unfamiliar (Russian) names and locations. Not for the feint of heart, nor those looking for a quick overview of Stalin's political development. I'm sure it's an excellent book, extremely well documented, very detailed, and if you're really looking for every detail of Stalin's development, this is a good book for you. But for casual reading at the beach, looking for an overview of Stalin, it's probably a bit much. ( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
Young Stalin reveals not only Stalin's life prior to the Revolution but the milieu of Georgia where he and so many in the Soviet leadership originated. A small number of highly effective Georgians managed to gain control of the vast Russian Empire, much of it is due to Stalin's single-minded drive and criminally large ego. The descriptions of early life in Georgia are fascinating but at some point I became lost in a tangle of incident, place and name as Stalin went underground for 12 years before the revolution. However the constant run-ins with the law, imprisonment and escapes, bank robberies, women (and more women), political intrigue, safe houses, disguises, conspiracies, etc .. leaves the strong impression of a wild life. It would make a great novel(s) or TV series. It really highlights how important the period leading up to the Revolution was in determining the USSR, and how the personalities of two men - Stalin and Lenin - made it such a ruthless and homicidal state. ( )
1 vote Stbalbach | Jan 3, 2018 |
A meticulously researched, yet eminenently readable biography of Stalin in his early years until after the Oct 1917 revolution. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
This is not the kind of book I normally read but it did give good insight into how Stalin went from a poor Georgian to a paranoid dictator. ( )
  cygnet81 | Jan 17, 2016 |
This book would have more stars if it weren't so infuriatingly incoherent, jumping about from topic to topic and person to person with little warning or clear direction, leading me to cry "Who the hell are you talking about *now*?!!" several times. The depth of research is staggering, and lays to rest many myths about the man, generated by both his propaganda machine and his detractors. An essential read for students of Stalin, but very irritating. ( )
  sloopjonb | May 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Simon Sebag Montefioreprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lozoya, Teófilo deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my darling son Sasha
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'All young people are the same' said Stalin, 'so why write... about the young Stalin?'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The shadowy journey from obscurity to power of the Georgian cobbler's son who became the Red Tsar--the man who, along with Hitler, remains the modern personification of evil: a merciless psychopath who was, as well, a consummate politician, the dynamic world statesman who helped create and industrialize the USSR, outplayed Churchill and Roosevelt, and defeated Hitler? Historian Montefiore tells the story of a charismatic, turbulent boy born into poverty, of doubtful parentage, scarred by his upbringing but possessed of unusual talents. Admired as a romantic poet and trained as a priest, he found his true mission as a fanatical revolutionary. A mastermind of bank robbery, protection rackets, arson, piracy and murder, he was equal parts terrorist, intellectual and brigand. The paranoid criminal underworld was Stalin's natural habitat, and murderous banditry and political gangsterism, combined with pitiless ideology, enabled Stalin to dominate the Kremlin--and create the USSR in his flawed image.--From publisher description.

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