Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Stalin: Breaker of Nations Paperback – November 1, 1992
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Drawing on a wealth of new material from the former Soviet Union, Conquest presents a chilling portrait of the Soviet dictator as a mass murderer. Photos.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
YA-- Written in a fast-moving informative style, this absorbing biography charts Stalin's rise from obscure revolutionary flunky to power-mad dictator. Borrowing liberally from unsealed memoirs of survivors of the Stalinist era, Conquest offers psychological insights into the man who condemned millions of his countrymen to death in the purges of the 1930s and led his nation to become a leading world power. A compelling portrait for students and teachers of modern Russian and European history alike. --Richard Lisker, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Through the sequential Congresses of the Party, we can follow Stalin's career as he ascend the levels of power with words and deeds, until he reaches the zenith of despotic, autocratic, and absolute power, and then the Congresses cease convening. Stalin rules with his inner circle, his minions who cajoled but also feared him.
After the Party Congress of 1934, "the Congress of Victors," his triumph was complete. He then used the assassination of Georgi Kirov in Leningrad as an excuse to launch the Great Terror of 1936-1938, despite the fact his power was now unchallenged. Millions perished, starved to death in government planned famines, shot, or worked to death in the gulag labor camps.
Conquest writes, " In the early summer of 1918, the Bolsheviks moved into a 'socialist phase,' with nationalization, food requisitioning and all the other dictatorial measures later described as "War Communism" -- though at the time clearly presented as the fulfillment of the party's long term aims." Only popular opposition and peasant rebellions forced Lenin to temporarily change course with the New Economic Policy. Without exception all of the Bolsheviks -- i.e., Lenin himself, Trotsky, Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin, Sverdlov, Ordzhonikidze, etc., had condone violence and terror against the enemies of the Revolution, real or imagined. What separated Stalin from the rest was that Stalin would use terror indiscriminately, as a matter of course, against the population, not sparing the families of his political opponents (not even his own), but most ominously against his former comrades without flinching.
Joseph Conrad's observation is valid: "Hopes grotesquely betrayed, ideals caricatured -- that is the definition of revolutionary success," for all of Soviet history: Stalinism was only worse. And yet, there were other examples of socialist and communist horrors -- e.g., , Red China under Mao Zedong and Cambodia under Pol Pot, and there were others.
But the caricature worsens, and desolation, cruelty, and death follow in the path of "building socialism," a path that began, not with Stalin but with Lenin, and was asserted at various points of the revolution by Trotsky (who crushed the Kronstadt rebellion without mercy) and most of the other Bolsheviks, including "the darling of the party," Nikolai Bukharin.
A very critical stage for Stalin's career, even his political survival, took place in the years 1922 to 1924, when Lenin very ill and partially incapacitated finally recognized Stalin's boundless cruelty and unquenchable thirst for personal, political power. Stalin had even insulted Nadezdha Krupskaya, Lenin's devoted wife, but it was too late. After Lenin's stroke of March 7, 1923 until his death in January 21, 1924, Stalin's career was in the balance, but his political opponents, like Lenin, had underestimated him.
After the Party Congress of 1924, and despite the implied suggestion of what Bukharin called "the theory of sweet revenge, " as we have seen, Stalin did not relax. He admitted to his Cheka Chief, Feliks Dzerzhinsky, and Politburo member, Lev Kamenev, " To choose one's victims, to prepare one's plans minutely, to slake an implacable vengeance, and then go to bed...there is nothing sweeter in the world." And he was able to do this repeatedly and with tremendous precision, through to his anti-semitic campaign against alleged "Cosmopolitanism," and the Doctors' Plot Affair, two decades later up to the eve of his death in 1953. This book tells you all about it.
Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D. is the author of Cuba in Revolution - Escape from a Lost Paradise (2002) and the essays, "Stalin's Mysterious Death" (2011) and "Stalin, Communists and Fatal Statistics (2011)
In clear, precise language Conquest documents the rise of Stalin from obscure party functionary to perhaps history's most prolific mass-murderer. Conquest also details how Stalin's political enemies in the Soviet Union, and Western leaders such as Roosevelt, failed to truly understand what a paranoid monster Stalin was.
Revisionist historians - those who believe that America is the Evil Empire and that Stalin is a tragic, misunderstood figure - will detest this book. Those who care about the truth will feel otherwise.
Stalin was born in 1879 in Georgia, an ancient nation in the Caucus annexed to Russia by Tsar Alexander I in 1801. Christened Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, he assumed the name Stalin (“man of steel”) when he joined underground revolutionary activities designed to overthrow the Tsar. Periodically arrested—and sent into exile in Siberia—he gained renown for his self-discipline, party loyalty, writing skills, and ability to get things done. He was, however, a rather minor figure until after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Thereafter he proved useful to Lenin, who valued his loyalty as well as willingness to manage unpleasant tasks. In 1922, when Lenin suffered his first of several strokes, Stalin began to effectively maneuver himself into powerful positions within the Politburo, jockeying with Trotsky for preeminence. Lenin apparently distrusted him, however, and disapproved him as his successor, confiding to his wife, in a document hidden from the public for 33 years: “‘Stalin is too rude, and this defect, though quite tolerable in our midst and in dealings among us Communists, becomes intolerable in a General Secretary. This is why I suggest that the comrades think about a way to remove Stalin from that post and appoint another man who in all respects differs from Comrade Stalin his his superiority, that is, more loyal, more courteous, and more considerate of comrades . . . .’” (p. 101). According to one of his secretaries, Lenin had resolved “‘to crush Stalin politically’” but died before doing so in 1924.
Unlike Trotsky, who advocated the primacy of world-wide revolutionary struggle, Stalin determined to first establish “Socialism in One Country,” and he rallied (through cajolery, intrigue, slander) enough followers to impose his will on the USSR. Once in power, he “planned to launch the party on an adventurist class-war, policy of crash industrialization and collectivization, adventurist beyond even the most extreme of the plans hitherto rejected as beyond the pale for their Leftism” (p. 141). “Stalinism was, in part at least, the result of a simple preconception—the nineteenth-century idea that all social and human actions can be calculated, considered and predicted” (p. 322). Such policies, crafted by alleged “experts” who often knew very little about agriculture or industry or anything but Party ideology, were ruthlessly imposed and quickly impoverished virtually everyone but Party functionaries. As definitively described in Conquest’s Harvest of Sorrow (Stalin’s liquidation of the Ukrainian peasantry, “the greatest known tragedy of the century” that killed some fifteen million souls) and his The Great Terror (Stalin’s elimination of all rivals within the Communist Party)—few monsters in all of history have ruled so barbarously.
When WWII broke out, Stalin did whatever necessary to further his own objectives. Thus he cheerfully aligned himself with Hitler when it looked like the two dictators would help each other, expanding their power over vast sections of Europe. Betrayed by Hitler when the Nazis invaded Russia, Stalin then turned to Churchill and Roosevelt—flattering and dissembling and manipulating these “allies” to secure invaluable materials with which to drive back the Germans and ultimately control Eastern Europe. Quite capable of charming those he encountered, he favorably impressed visitors such as America’s Vice President Harry Hopkins and Britain’s Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. President Roosevelt, though warned to be careful in negotiating with “Uncle Joe,” followed his personal “hunch” and determined to “give him everything I possibly can and ask for nothing in return,” trusting him not to “annex” any territory and “work with me for al world of democracy and peace’” (p. 245). In Conquest’s view, FDR’s naive judgment “must be among the crassest errors ever made by a political leader” (p. 245).
Following WWII, Stalin resumed his ruthless policies—waging a “cold war” abroad and purging all possible enemies to his regime within Russia—before dying in 1953. “In real terms, Milan Djilas’s conclusion stands up: ‘All in all, Stalin was a monster who, while adhering to abstract, absolute and fundamentally utopian ideas, in practice had no criterion but success—and this meant violence, and physical and spiritual extermination’” (p. 327). To understand the man and his evil deeds, Conquest’s Stalin: Breaker of Nations is a trustworthy source with which to begin.