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Young Stalin Paperback – October 14, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Montefiore uses a variety of materials, but especially unpublished memoirs from Stalin's early friends and colleagues newly available in the Georgian communist party archives. Material from these was sometimes used in the official Stalinist biographies, but anything that deviated from the official dull accounts was quietly buried. Montefiore explains that both Stalin and Trotsky were eager to obscure Stalin's early life: Trotsky wished to belittle him as a mere party bureaucrat, while Stalin feared that his unruly past would be an obstacle as he moved towards supreme power.Read more ›
Yet, even in this most studied of lives, there is plenty of gold to be found by those who know where to look. Montefiore takes us back to the almost Mediterranean splendor of the Caucasus, a land of fierce feuds and vendette, of revolutionary nobles and passionate women, where everything (the weather, the clothing, the food, the tempers) is as un-Russian as can be. Stalin was definitely a Caucasian. He was proud and violent, but also very sharp and able to behave with unexpected generosity. He was extremely bright and amazingly well read. It is easy to see why Stalin was offended by the poet Mandelstam's celebrated line in his "Ode to Stalin", about "His fat fingers" "slimy like slugs". Stalin surely regarded himself as an intellectual and this description as a dim-witted vulgarian could only wound him deeply. In his pictures as a young man he is curiously good looking, and one can imagine the attraction this bright young rebel might have had for all sorts of women. In this Stalin was very unlike Hitler, for whom fleshly pleasures were repellent, and rather like Mussolini who was to the end a ladies' man.
Stalin's friends come alive in this book. Sure, they felt no compunction about cutting an enemy's throat, or blowing up an oil refinery, or bombing a police station, but they were also able to have fun, to drink, to joke, perhaps like many rebels of our day.Read more ›
The book begins by discussing Stalin's birth to a tough-minding, loving mother and an alcoholic father in a town in Georgia as dirt-poor as anything imaginable. From there, Stalin excelled in school, and nearly became a priest, but was ironically driven away by excessively strict priests at his school, running right into the arms of the revolutionary beliefs that were taking the world by storm at the end of the 19th Century. It was at this point that Stalin's life really began to take shape. From there, Stalin became a shadowy figure in the underground, specializing in everything from arch-conspirator, to bank robber extraordinaire, to extortionist, to intelligence specialist, to counter-intelligence expert, to even murderer. Using his dark intelligence, over time Stalin became the key problem-solver for Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, helping rid the party of spies -- both real and imagined -- and planning and executing the bank robberies which would fund Lenin and his fledging Bolshevik Party in its early days.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well researched and written history of the young Stalin with escapes to the older Stalin and geopolitics and USSR in general. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Landmark
Although I rarely read such historical novels, this Young Stalin gave me history, story ,insights, characters and knowledge.Published 1 month ago by VICKY
I do not do book "reviews" and will just say that I enjoyed this book. I had never read anything about Stalin's life prior to his ascension to the throne as the Red Tsar... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bud Man
Kudos to the author. This book is based on exhaustive research into sources which include interviews of people who participated in the events of the times, many existing written... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mit1
Montefiore's biography of the young Stalin is both humanizing and surprisingly fair-minded. Montefiore is not inclined to like Stalin and is fairly anti-Bolshevik overall, and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. D. Varn
Great book about a sick and nasty man. Very well written and always easy to read Sebag.Published 3 months ago by beverly miller
A great insight into the mind of Stalin that is both not boring and full of information. A good book for anyone who is in to the early days of communism and the Russian revolutionPublished 4 months ago by Imran Verhulst
Fascinating and well researched. For those that studied the Russian Revolution and the subsequent history of the Soviet Union at school or university, this is a must read to give... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Young Stalin describes the life of this Communist Russian leader from birth through the Russian Revolution that led to the establishment of Communism in Russia. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dave Schan