Drawing on the wealth of unexplored material available for the first time since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Robert Service's biography of Stalin promises to be the most authoritative yet published. Evidence about Stalin has always been opaque. Stalin himself orchestrated this, silencing his witnesses and systematically distorting, ...
Drawing on the wealth of unexplored material available for the first time since the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Robert Service's biography of Stalin promises to be the most authoritative yet published. Evidence about Stalin has always been opaque. Stalin himself orchestrated this, silencing his witnesses and systematically distorting, hiding and destroying documents. Service brings thirty years of involvement with Russia and its history to bear on this most controversial and enigmatic of figures, concentrating not simply on Stalin as dedicated bureaucrat or serial political killer, but on a fuller assessment of the man himself. His early years in Georgia, his youthful revolutionary activism, his relationship with Lenin, with his family, with his party members: all of these formative interactions will be subject to close scrutiny, as will the central episodes in his career. The events of the October Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Terror and above all the Second World War are more open to examination than ever before, and Service will probe these to explain the nature of Stalin's personality, career and impact.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-02-21 Here is a life-and-times biography in the grand style: deeply researched, well written, brimming with interpretations. Oxford historian Service, author of an acclaimed biography of Lenin, provides the most complete portrait available of the Soviet ruler, from his early, troubled years in a small town in Georgia to the pinnacle of power in the Kremlin. Most previous biographers have depicted Stalin as a plodding figure whose only distinguishing characteristic was brutality. But Service describes a man who was intelligent and hardworking, who learned from experience and who played an important role in the Russian revolutionary movement. On so many of the complex issues of Soviet history-including Stalin's rise to power within the Communist Party, the policy shift to forced collectivization, the Great Terror and the prosecution of the war against Nazi Germany-Service provides lucid accounts based on his own research and the most recent scholarship. Stalin was the key figure behind every major development from the mid-1920s onward. He based his policy decisions on his understanding of Marxism-Leninism and on a hardheaded, realistic assessment of his own often uneasy position and of the Soviet Union's relatively weak standing in the world. By providing such a rich and complex portrait of the dictator and the Soviet system, Service humanizes Stalin without ever diminishing the extent of the atrocities he unleashed upon the Soviet population. 47 b&w photos, 4 maps. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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