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The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  589 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
If the past century will be remembered for its tragic pairing of civilized achievement and organized destruction, at the heart of darkness may be found Hitler, Stalin, and the systems of domination they forged. Their lethal regimes murdered millions and fought a massive, deadly war. Yet their dictatorships took shape within formal constitutional structures and drew the sup ...more
Paperback, 928 pages
Published January 17th 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 2004)
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Meirav Rath
Dec 24, 2007 Meirav Rath rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: History buffs, WW2 buffs, Russophiles,
One of Overy's best books, if only for managing to bust myths and provide a massive amount of important information without boring the reader or overtaxing their mind. If you want to learn the inner works of both Nazi Germany and Stalin's Russia, this book is a must read.
I did find one chapter lacking, the one I actually knew something about; Overy has an impressive knowledge of the Gulag system but his knowledge of the German web of concentration camps, ghettos and extermination camps is quite
...more
Mike
Jan 19, 2014 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I will try to add more to this review at a later date but wanted to add some thoughts while it is still fresh in my mind. This book, was, without question, one of the best I have encountered on this time period, and, in particular, on the questions as to how the day-to-day operations of the Stalin and Hitler dictatorships functioned. Overy, with a very difficult task at hand, does his best to provide elements of both objectivity, and most importantly, places you into the mindset of the both the ...more
Scott
Jul 17, 2012 Scott rated it it was amazing
Brilliant comparison of Hitler's Germany and Stalin's USSR
Zach Thibodeau
May 24, 2011 Zach Thibodeau rated it really liked it
An excellent investigation of the similarities and differences of Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia. Where Overy succeeds is in describing the relationships of the two dictators to their people. He has successfully opened up a partial understanding of the question, "Why would Germans and Russians go along with this?" Instead of blaming ignorance, misinformation, and deceit Overy has explained the ideological constructs of the regimes.

This book, pointed out in Overy's introduction, is not a d
...more
Katherine
Jul 06, 2010 Katherine rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone curious about Stalin and Hitler's rise and dominance
Recommended to Katherine by: My dad
I'm reading this slowly - the data are almost overwhelming and yet at the same time it is a page turner because real life is almost always stranger (and more perverse) than fiction. Here's a quote to make this more concrete:
Before 1941 and after 1945 the exiles were selected on political criteria as 'socially dangerous' or anti-Soviet, elastic categories that stretched from the obvious (nationalist politicians, churchmen, soldiers and merchants) to the absurd (philatelists and Esperanto speakers
...more
Greg
Mar 12, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it
Still reading this one, seems to be a good comparison between the two and the modes of rising to power and leadership styles. Really different from the military histories that I am more used to reading. I would definitely recommend it!
Just finished this one. I know of no other book that I have read that has made me so glad not to have lived in Europe during this time. The express intent of evil on both sides was astounding. The writing of this book was exemplary and I really appreciated the auth
...more
AskHistorians
This is not quite a readable as Snyder, but a very well-written and well-documented comparative history of the regimes of Hitler and Stalin, highly recommended for the enthusiast already familiar with the general details of each regime's history and wanting to really gain an understanding of their similarities and differences.
James
Oct 20, 2007 James rated it liked it
Recommends it for: History buffs
Non-fiction. This is a highlevel discussion of Hitler and Stalin - it is not the pure history - you are expected to know the basic course of events. Rather, this is a more in-depth examination of the underpinning realities - the idea of functionalism vs. intentionalism (how were they merely reacting to events beyond their control vs. creating the reality and results they intended all along). This is some of the hardest reading I have ever experienced. Some of the sentences took a half dozen read ...more
Christoffer
Aug 21, 2012 Christoffer rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Brilliant work by Overy! A comparative and in-depth study of the regimes of Hitler and Stalin. Simply a masterpiece within the totalitarianism research. The thickness can be intimidating to new readers, but the chapters can be read independently, and provide worthwhile insight into the extremely brutal regimes of national socialism and russian communism.
Greg
Jul 13, 2013 Greg rated it really liked it
This comparison between the Stalinism and National Socialism is very informative. The author's perspective is interesting, in that even though the two ideologies consider each other enemies both exhibit many of the same outward social features such as cults of personality. Also the author stresses the contribution of scientism to two ideologies.
Jeanette
Oct 27, 2011 Jeanette rated it it was ok
How such a fascinating topic/comparison could be made, not boring, but workmanlike, is a mystery. This is a good overview/review, but somehow the information stays on the page. Overy may be a very good historian (not my field, but his research and analysis seems solid), but his writing is quite dry. Disappointing.
Jim
Jul 07, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii
3.5 Stars....didn't shift well between the two...However this book is quite special...it was the book I was reading the day my twin nephews, Dillon and Jared were born. Feb 6 1996. I signed the book and gave it to Dillon on 29 June 2012
Douglas
Oct 19, 2008 Douglas rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Winner of Wolfson Prize for History, provides an enlightening comparison of Stalin and Hitler's dictatorship. The writing is a bit dense, but very interesting look at how the dictatorships (and their horrors) came to be.
Joshua
Jul 29, 2013 Joshua rated it it was amazing
Really an excellent comparison of the two dictatorships! (: Every IB History student should read this for SPS!
Chris Jonesy
Aug 21, 2013 Chris Jonesy rated it liked it
great book if your a History buff like myself YESSSSSSSSSS
Richard
Does what it says in the title, really.
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Richard James Overy is a British historian who has published extensively on the history of World War II and the Third Reich.
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