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Stalin's Curse: Battling for Communism in War and Cold War Paperback – December 3, 2013
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Author of several histories of German and Russian totalitarianism, Gellately here indicts Stalin as the primary instigator of the Cold War, marshaling evidence from Communist archives that undermines the revisionist case for Western responsibility for starting the confrontation. Arguing that Stalin was a hands-on director of expanding the Communist domain from 1939 to 1953, Gellately points to Stalin’s ideological convictions as the driving motive in his political decisions, contrasting them with his mollifying arguments to Western diplomats about Russia’s reasonable needs for security. The ground-level ramifications were, as Gellately recounts, police-state suppression of freedom and abolition of capitalism through executions, deportations, and gulags, which claimed victims by the millions. Amid his inventory of countries subjected to Stalin’s rule, Gellately credits the Red dictator with political acumen in deceiving Western leaders about his true objective of imposing one-party states. Stalin’s Communist associates and acolytes knew better, and the archives preserve their orders from Stalin about local tactics for eradicating non-Communist opposition and, in Korea, starting a war. Thoroughly researched, Gellately’s fine contribution to Cold War studies will engage readers with its inside-the-Kremlin detail. --Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Praise for Robert Gellately's Stalin's Curse
“Masterly. . . . Gellately’s latest work has a good claim to be the best single-volume account of the darkest period in Russian history.”
“Impeccably researched and cogently argued . . . Gellately’s intimate knowledge of the sources across Eastern European and of Russian archives compels us to accept his conclusions. . . . The blame for the barren cul-de-sac down which global history strayed for nearly half a century has never been better diagnosed: It was Stalin’s curse.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“Well-researched. . . . [Gellately’s] grasp of the literature is tremendous, especially his expertise with the Soviet archives. I know of only two or three other books that can rival Stalin’s Curse in terms of its penetrating use of Russian sources. . . . Gellately does an excellent job of showing how the Soviet leader took his country from a backwards nation to a global superpower.”
—Jordan Michael Smith, Christian Science Monitor
“Incisive. . . . [Gellately] dashes once and for all the claims of blame-America academicians and faux historians that Washington was responsible for the Cold War.”
—The Washington Times
“Outstanding. . . . A prominent historian of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, Gellately offers a panoramic view of Stalin’s political, diplomatic and psychological manoeuvres that allowed the USSR to achieve superpower status. The author has an encyclopedic knowledge of his subject and provides a compelling narrative of deception, brutality, foolishness and betrayed idealism.”
—Times Higher Education
“Masterful . . . historian Robert Gellately takes us back to square one. Whodunit? Stalin.”
“A compelling argument. . . . Gellately traces Stalin’s career in a new work that takes dead-aim at debunking historiographical views that Stalin’s political post-World War II posturing originated from any obsession with national security.”
“A refreshingly frank analysis. Not for [Gellately] is the revisionist notion that the US was as much to blame for the cold war as the Soviet Union . . . a powerful work of synthesis.”
“The complicated story . . . is graphically and succinctly told. The narrative is compelling. . . . Although Stalin’s Curse emphasizes the unprecedented ruthlessness of Stalin, it has implications for today.”
—Literary Review (UK)
“Florida State University’s Gellately (Lenin, Stalin and Hitler) adds to his distinguished body of work on 20th-century totalitarianism with this analysis of Stalin’s conduct in international relations between 1939 and 1953 . . . Interweaving scholarship and the testimonies of those who suffered under Stalin’s rule, Gellately’s history is political and personal.”
“Gellately here indicts Stalin as the primary instigator of the Cold War, marshaling evidence from Communist archives that undermines the revisionist case for Western responsibility for starting the confrontation . . . Gellately’s fine contribution to Cold War studies will engage readers with its inside-the-Kremlin detail.”
“Masterful. . . . This book should become a go-to read on how the Cold War developed.”
“Gellately has written a fascinating study of Stalin’s motivation. Using rich sources from archives to memoirs, [he] convincingly shows that Stalin was a committed follower of Marxism-Leninism and worked constantly to expand the international revolution under Russia’s leadership. . . . Highly recommended.”
Top customer reviews
This is because history explaining in USSR was part of propaganda and historians cannot use for example Soviets party or military authority memuars or other writings as history truth.
One must always check and croscheck Soviet data and facts as is it was really or not..
For example, in this book is mentioned that in 24 of June of 1941 there were created Evacuation comission under Kaganovitch rule
But one must know that the aim of this coomision was to go behind Soviet Army to Germany and collect all god things from there, but not to evacuate soviet enterprises and people. That work was done only after.
Stalin" Curse is serious and very god study how comunists and Stalin were creating "world revoliucion", how realy begins cold war.. So complex job I read first time. It's real history.
In part a political biography of Stalin, the book nonetheless covers all key participants, and shows how fiercely engrained ideology can trump more practical factors.
impose Soviet style Communism on the world. The absolute ruthlessness which he employed
to reach this goal, is after some 80 years, still hard to comprehend.
Far from being ham-fisted in their ruthlessness, the Communist party knew when to cooperate within coalition governments for tactical reasons while gaining control of key institutions that facilitated the ultimate implementation of governments totally controlled by the Soviet Union. Eventually, they sought total control not only of the reigns of government but all cultural, social or even religious groups. Every organized group, no matter how non-political, was perceived by the Communists as a potential threat to Soviet domination, had to be brought under Soviet, not just Communist control, or was to be intimidated and eventually destroyed and had to be Stalin may have been paranoid to the point of near madness, a mass murderer on a grand scale, but he was also an extraordinarily clever long range thinker. He was one of the most untrustworthy con men who ever lived yet able to win the confidence of Roosevelt and even the ever suspicious Churchill, at least at times.
The book outlines the brutal reality of someone's description of how the totalitarian state operates: everything for the state, nothing outside the state and nothing against the state.