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Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1928-1941 Hardcover – November, 1990
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From Publishers Weekly
Many Western historians portray Stalin as a pragmatic, if disastrously blundering revolutionary who had no overarching vision of where Russia was heading under his leadership. Not so, argues Tucker in this massive, provocative history; Stalin acted with forethought. Driven by a need to prove himself "a second and greater Lenin," he boldly and confidently implemented his collectivist schemes, backed by a policy of terror and accomplished through the seizure of peasant lands and households, mass murder, forced resettlement and prison camps. His state-directed, state-enforced "revolution from above," in Tucker's ( Stalin as Revolutionary ) view, was a throwback to the state-building of the earliest Muscovite grand princes. The author illumines the "Stalinist culture" the dictator promoted in everything from movies to "folk" songs, with its master themes of heroism and communal uplift. This gripping history is crucial reading for anyone seeking to understand Stalin or contemporary Soviet affairs. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This remarkable sequel to Stalin As Revolutionary, 1879-1929 ( LJ 9/1/73) is at once the best of Tucker's many books and arguably the finest work in the burgeoning field of Stalin studies. The author's achievement synthesizes recent Soviet revelations, better-known sources on Stalin, and personal interviews into a major work of biography. Tucker's Stalin is neither simply mad nor opportunistic, but the methodical "Iosif Grozny," an idealized Ivan the Terrible, and, tragically for millions, one whose terror far surpassed that of any czar. Tucker's depiction of Stalin and the terror machine is persuasive; but more controversial is the assertion that the purges served a "cathartic function" of exculpating Stalin for his own conspiracy against the revolution. The psychological dimension coexists with the political. Thus, Stalin's decimation of foreign Communists is both an expression of xenophobia and preparation for the 1939 Hitler-Stalin Pact. Whatever one's judgment of author or subject, this book can be safely recommended for all academic and public libraries.
- Zachary T. Irwin, Penn State - Behrend Coll. , Erie
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Too much minutiae regarding party affairs and activities to the point of comprehensive detailed report on communist party’s history. Maybe that has value for historians or people digging out some specific facts or incidents but for the general reader: boring… Boring and quite repetition is the summary of this book.
There is too much guessing of what went (or must have gone) through Stalin’s mind as events unfolded and as he did or did not do certain things. Before tackling these two voluminous volumes suggested to me by a former Soviet citizen, I was interested in getting an account of so many lives, estimated at twenty million.. Those lives were wasted because of the poor decisions and ‘pigheadedness’ of this guy; a lazy youth whose profession was ‘being a revolutionary’. The books unfortunately falls far short of accounting for that.
What comes through from the two volumes is the evilness of groupthink of social animals and how they get trapped in their own collective behavior. Those stupids who suffered his purges and persecutions did not have to choose him in the first place!
What sets this book apart from the others is Tucker's first rate understanding of Stalin and the world in which he operated. Only someone as stubborn as Stalin could have imagined he was creating paradise on earth while at the same establishing one of the most hellish regime's in world history and Tucker captures him in all of his evil. Even though he is a widely respected actademic, Tucker writes in such a way as to make this 20th century monster understandable to expert and beginner alike.
The only complaint that I have is that Tucker has yet to follow through with the next part of Stalin's career. It seems to be truism of late that no one can complete a multi-volume work on one of the leaders of World War II. Kenneth Davis was unsuccessful in his magnificent FDR biography as was William Manchester in his attempt to capture Churchill in his series of books on the great prime minister. I am only hoping that wealth of material that has become available with the fall of communism and the Soviet Union does not hamper Professor Tucker's efforts.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Tucker only repeats what dozens of other analysts have already pointed out.Read more