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Stalin: Breaker of Nations
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Stalin: Breaker of Nations

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  226 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Of all the despots of our time, Joseph Stalin lasted the longest and wielded the greatest power, and his secrets have been the most jealously guarded--even after his death.In this book, the first to draw from recently released archives, Robert Conquest gives us Stalin as a child and student; as a revolutionary and communist theoretician; as a political animal skilled in am ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 1st 1992 by Penguin Books (first published November 14th 1991)
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John Wiswell
I read this first in highschool to get a grasp on one of the 20th century’s greatest monsters, and again now as I was moving and found it in an old box.

Breaker of Nations is an excellent resource for highschoolers and undergrads looking for specific information on one of Stalin’s activities. There is at least a page on almost every notable exploit of Stalin’s rise and administration, from his meetings with Mao, Hitler, Roosevelt and Churchill, to destruction of Russian architecture, the famines
Bart Thanhauser
This was a sludge of a book to read, and I don’t want to make it a sludge of a task to write a review of it. Nonetheless there are some important notes I want to get down and remember.

What was most frustrating about this book is that I don’t feel like I learned a whole lot from it. Robert Conquest is an old conservative British academic. And that's fine. But his writing is not entertaining, it's not terribly academic and worse of all it's not very informative. Stalin is a fascinatingly cruel fig
What the author does in this biography is to paint a portrait of the great dictator that will give readers an idea who he was. The book is an agreeable read, but I had the feeling at the end that this approach to the life of Stalin was inadequate to its subject.

Because of the nature of the man a portrait of him could be sketched rather easily and in far fewer pages than this biography. Stalin, it turns out, was an unusually bland personality driven by often inscrutable motives. His effect on the
The author is a british conservative (and the audio narrator had the most annoying voice imaginable) -- and shows all the vices of this ideological breed. Still, he is informed, and if looking for a single-volumned biography (and something less daunting than Ulam), this is a reasonable book to read -- the (many) ideological asides, as if he were channeling Maggie Thatcher, were easier to take in audio form -- I had tried to actually read this book once and failed miserably. The problem with thes ...more
When reading Paul Johnson's, Modern Times, I got interested in Stalin and picked this book to read (and ended up finishing it before Modern Times). Stalin was a very dark person and thus this book was very dark. I cannot recommend it because it was very hard to get through but the story of Stalin is incredible and it is a great lesson of how a world leader can be viewed positively but at the same time be a mass murder and one of the most evil people who has ever lived (killing off everyone aroun ...more
Safe to say that Conquest knows his subject quite well. This biography is a good complement to The Great Terror, and if Stalin and his USSR interest you, I would recommend reading both (the bio first and then the Terror). STALIN is a brisk summary of Stalin's life and career. I almost didn't pick up this book due to the negative reviews on Goodreads, and the critiques were varied from "burgeois propaganda" to lack of sophistication in analysis to overly academic and verbose. I think the first sp ...more
Leith W. Siouffi
English 7-1
Stalin: Breaker of Nations

Stalin: Breaker of Nations kicks off with a dialogue as a great hook between a reporter and a woman which talks about December 21st being the day that Joseph Stalin was born. The reporter asks her if that day meant anything to her and she answered no. He told her that it was the day Stalin was born and she replied "Better if he hadn't been born'"(Conquest 1). Stalin was the ruler of a mostly Russian empire in the 1920s. 4 years later he
When I decided that I wanted to read a biography of Stalin, I chose this one because at 327 pages, it's a lot more doable than the others that I found, which were all about double that in length. Not a light, happy read, certainly, but so interesting. I learned a lot.
Sam Cramer
A remarkable portrait of an evil man who promoted an evil ideology. Darkly amusing in parts; the description of Stalin's nights with his cronies -- who did not know if they would survive the evening -- is not to be missed.
John Christy
utter crap. bourgeois propaganda

*puts on ideological lens*

oh my, stalin the monster!!! stalin the cruel! stalin the terrible!
This is a solid and fast-paced look at Stalin, the fifth biography of his I've read. I think if I had read it first it might have earned five stars with a caveat, but Montefiore's efforts are superior in my view. The caveat is a handful of severely undigested notions about Stalin in reference to Marxism, that play out as a bad combo of philosophy and psychology, both amateurish. But as Eric Hobsbawm notes in Age of Revolution, historians are only experts in particular periods that they have dire ...more
Bryn Dunham
This is the best of the two biographies of Stalin I have read due in part to the author's ability to display Stalin's personality in relation to his deeds and career. What the reader will discover is how Stalin was by nature cruel, ruthless, manipulative, and unprincipled. Likely a true sociopath in the modern definition, Stalin, his toadies, and like Lenin before him, were well aware of the downright fallacy of Marxism, but used its dogma to obtain and retain power for power's sake. We learn ho ...more
Yes, his name really is Robert Conquest, and he really is the foremost English language Stalinologist. Gotta be careful not to say "Stalinist," see, that's a whole different thing. Anyway, Stalin: Breaker of Nations is his Stalin biography. It appears to be largely based on research that Conquest did for the 1968 work that made him the foremost English language Stalinologist, The Great Terror. That work was reissued in 1990 as The Great Terror: A Reassessment, at a time when the recently-opened ...more
This book was tough sledding. It’s an academic work and wasn’t the most entertaining book to listen to but since I’m a history buff, I still found it fascinating. My overall impression of Stalin was he was nothing but a cold blooded murdering sociopath.

He killed anyone and everyone who stood in his way, 15 million by some estimates. He killed people who supported him, family members, women and children. He didn’t discriminate. Those he didn’t murder or torture were sentenced by the millions to p
La volont�� di condannare il dittatore e i crimini commessi ha limitato la capacit�� di analisi storica dell'autore.
An excellent, compelling discussion of an extremely complex man. Although it may seem absurd to speculate about what the USSR 'could have been', while I was reading this book I did mull over the possibilities...what if Lenin had not worked himself to death? What if the Troskyist faction of the Central Committee and Politburo had been successful, rather than the Stalinists? Would it have made a difference? These are questions the answers to which we will never know. Nonetheless, Stalin remains, i ...more
A Smith
Stalin, so far, is boring. As a biography fan.
Stalin: Breaker of Nations is an in-depth study about the Soviet Union's molding and most powerful man. It deals with his childhood in great detail. This detail is only surpassed by the amount of research done on his political maneuverings in the Communist Party. Though it can be a bit dull during the middle of the book, it is worth the read for anyone who is doing research on the USSR or Stalin.
Luca Zavarella
Molti dettagli cronologici potevano essere omessi, giovando alla scorrevolezza del testo. Nel complesso il libro offre una visione a tutto tondo dell'uomo Stalin e della sua smisurata brama di potere.
Cathy Smyth
Informative, but definitely not riveting
Very thorough; very dry.
Padraicwhite marked it as to-read
Feb 24, 2015
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George Robert Acworth Conquest

Dr. George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15, 1917), British historian, became a well known writer and researcher on the Soviet Union with the publication, in 1968, of his account of Stalin's purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror.
More about Robert Conquest...
The Great Terror: A Reassessment The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine Reflections on a Ravaged Century Stalin and the Kirov Murder The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History

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