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Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives Paperback – November 2, 1993
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
- Ed Goedeken, Purdue Univ. Libs., West Lafayette, Ind.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Stalin was a creature of bureaucracy, the ultimate insider, someone who knew how to use the organization bonding the Communist Party together for his own rise to prominence and power, an increasingly clever, adroit, and masterful practitioner of power politics. He was nothing if not careful, cautious, deliberate, and shrewd. Hitler, on the other hand, was a gambler, a masterful politician, a bold, easily bored, and endlessly distracted dreamer whose natural ability to charm, captivate, and enchant helped him to rise by extraordinary means.Read more ›
From their humble beginnings, Bullock examines how Hitler and Stalin managed to gain positions of absolute power over their respective countries. Stalin is portrayed as an almost shadowy figure, spending his early career lurking in the background behind the public figure of Lenin, waiting his chance while expertly playing the game of power politics. Hitler, on the other hand, is depicted as a gambler, taking chances he wasn't expected to take, attempting to seize power through calculated boldness and his fiery public persona. With both men, however, Bullock stresses how they succeeded by going just a little farther than others, capitalizing on their enemies' perceptions of what they would and would not do.
Another comparison Bullock draws between Hitler and Stalin lies in the men's complete lack of anything that could appropriately be described as human feeling or comparison. To both, as Bullock says, other people were simply objects to be manipulated or obstacles to be eliminated.Read more ›
However, Sir Alan Bullock tells this story primarily through the two men whose efforts, paranoias, prejudicies, and impressive if ultimately evil intellects made their regimes possible. Without a doubt, he tells their stories masterfully, interweaving their lives within the context of twentieth century history and ideas yet maintaining their distinct personal and political identities, talents, and mistakes. His book is both interesting narrative and unquie analytical fair for both the general reader and specialist.
In their latest book, Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison, Sir Ian Kershaw and Moshe Levin write of their subjects:
"Studying the history of inhumanity, perpetrated on such a vast, unprecedented scale, has an emotional and psychological cost. It is not like studying the history of philosohpy, the Renaissance, or the age of the cathedrals. The subject matter is less uplifting than almost any other conceivable topic of historical enquiry. But it is history al the same. And it is important. The emotional involvement has to be contained, even when the very effort to arrive at some balanced and reasoned interpretation seems an affront. . . There is nothing else . . . than to adhere to scholarly methods in the hope that knowledge might inform action to prevent any conceivable repetition of such political pathologies as characterised Stalinism and Nazism."
With his most recent work, Sir Alan Bullock has gone a long way toward achieving the ideals set forth by Kershaw and Lewin. I highly recommend this book
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book reflects an astounding commitment to the subject and a peerless quality of scholarship. It has more information that any one person can ever hope to retain about the two... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Alex
I found myself completely engrossed in this. The careful and concise way Mr. Bullock presents the information is something I found a great aid in trying to understand politics and... Read morePublished 16 months ago by R. Barrell
It's a majestic book, surely required reading for any serious student of the 20th Century. Maybe too much of a good thing...found myself skip reading the 2d half. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Thomas M. Lane