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Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives
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Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  1,672 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
It is practically unprecedented to take two such monsters as Hitler and Stalin, who never met, and interweave their lives chronologically6, chapter by chapter, often paragraph by paragraph, as Bullock has done. It sounds like a recipe for confusion, irritation and indigestion. In fact it works brilliantly. The book is a triumph of organisation, lucidity and perspective. - ...more
Hardcover, Revised Second Edition, 1184 pages
Published December 1st 1998 by Fontana Press (first published 1991)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Claudia Moscovici
I used to teach Alan Bullock's "Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives" in courses about totalitarianism. Contrary to many other college textbooks, which tend to date rather quickly, this history book seems timeless. Bullock offers a monumental social biography of two of the most evil dictators in human history as well as an epic sketch of an era. Although the author specializes in Hitler, his grasp of Stalin is equally impressive. It rivals, in fact, Robert Conquest's "The Great Terror" in its thoro ...more
Sep 13, 2013 11 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don’t be intimidated by this hefty 1100 page tome; it’s very readable. Results will vary, of course, but “Hitler and Stalin- Parallel Lives” did a fantastic job exploring the big question I’ve always had about World War II: why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union before he managed to beat Great Britain into either surrender or alliance?

This was probably the biggest strategic blunder of the war, and one that had never been explored to my satisfaction before. Alan Bullock does an amazing job here s
Nov 13, 2008 AC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must Read -- One of the truly great works of historical synthesis in the 20th century.
Gwynn White
Apr 16, 2012 Gwynn White rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Phew... I survived reading this book mentally intact. That feels like a small miracle. It is hard to imagine two more evil men. In fact, at times Parallel Lives reads like fantasy, because it is almost inconceivable that people could actually have behaved like Hitler and Stalin did. But in the end I think the prize for most evil man of the 20th century (or perhaps any century) goes to ... drum roll .... Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin. He definitely wins hands down, no question. I think it is poeti ...more
Armin Hennig
Aug 02, 2016 Armin Hennig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: geschichte
87/100 Eigentlich viereinhalb Sterne, ausführliche Rezi folgt.
May 31, 2011 Alex marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
On January 30, 1933, German president Von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler to be the Chancellor of Germany.
In November 1933, Hitler said, "I did not become Chancellor in order to act otherwise than I have preached for fourteen long years."

IMHO, it is necessary to note that unfortunately and to the shame of German people, Hitler came to power through the democratic election process on 07/31/1932 via popular support.

Below is the extract from Wikipedia

Michael Goldsmith
Apr 03, 2013 Michael Goldsmith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To understand History and how Evil comes to power. Its important to understand this Evil in it's purest form so it cannot happen again. I am so concerened that it is happening again, look at the power vacume of the presidency today. The out of control spending, trying to take away our guns, the un-informed voters, the people who vote themselfs service and the lack of people who really want to work. So many great men and women of the day died during this horrific period. It was a good book, but i ...more
Roger McFarland
Jul 28, 2015 Roger McFarland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Actually read in April of 2009. The following is a summary of notes (or review) written at the time that I am moving to my Goodreads library.

Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives was written by British historian Alan Bullock very late in his life. Bullock was born in 1914 and died in 2004, with a very full and interesting career in between as writer and historian. He even worked for Winston Churchill for a time as a research assistant prior to WWII. Much of Bullock’s work focused on the twentieth c
Jul 03, 2013 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. The longest book I've ever read! I have learnt so much about Stalin and the rise and continuation of communism. It was also a great way to learn about Stalin - in comparison with Hitler. Actually I learnt a lot about Hitler too! The author was right - religious fundamentalism had taken over as the biggest threat to the world after the Cold War ended. Would be great to read an updated version, there must be additional info around now 20 years after this was published.
Skuli Saeland
Þetta er mögnuð yfirferð yfir líf Stalíns og Hitlers. Alan Bullock lýsir ítarlega uppeldisárum þeirra, hvað markaði þá og hugmyndafræði þeirra. Hvernig Hitler og Stalín komust til valda, hvers vegna þeir snéru bökum saman í upphafi síðari heimsstyrjaldarinnar, hvers vegna þeim lenti saman og að lokum endalokum beggja.
Við lestur bókarinnar heillaðist ég af því hve vönduð og ítarleg frásögn Bullocks er. Hann ber meðal annars saman aðferðir harðstjóranna er þeir hófust til valda, hvernig þeim tókst
Mar 30, 2016 Pablo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great work of historical synthesis. Made me better understand the context in which Ceausescu and the post-war dictators developed, following the examples of the one-man-rule regimes so well covered in this book.
Aug 18, 2011 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics-history
A great narrator and historian..don't be put off by the length of this book. Engrossing and a must read for anyone interested in the Third Reich/Stalin's Russia.
Jan 10, 2016 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives by Alan Bullock is a highly engrossing book that chronicles the key events in the lives of both dictators in a side-by-side comparison to give a sense of the differences in their respective styles and personalities. The book is long (nearly 980 pages without including another 100 pages of appendices, footnotes, reference sources, etc). However, it is very well written and highly engrossing given the well described contrast between their lives. This book may have ...more
The magnitude of this accomplishment almost circumvents any criticism, but as an average reader and historian I have to remark that the exceptional nature of this book is its triumph and downfall at once. It is researched and assessed to the most minuscule detail, fashioned in an intriguing timeline approach, comparing the careers of these two tyrants. But it is heady stuff, and the author chooses not to (or is incapable of) writing in prose any simpler than the most complex professorial thesis. ...more
Lewis Smith
Mar 25, 2015 Lewis Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when it first came out over 20 years ago, and last school year I picked it up and started over again. While it is a bit dated, this is the only serious work to ever lay the lives of history's two most deadly dictators side by side. While Bullock's style is a bit dry in places, the scope of his scholarship is truly impressive. There are some golden quotes in this book, not just about Hitler and Stalin, but about the similarities and differences between Nazism and Communism. Overa ...more
Paul  Blair
Apr 14, 2014 Paul Blair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised by this book- erratic and all over the place with its timelines of both men. However, it is well written and if you have a background on both monsters then you are going to have a good read. It is pretty much everything we have read about the two. Good thing is we get an excellent insight into great battles, death camps, etc. Worth a read!
Dec 12, 2014 Gilbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never thought I would feel releived in going from a chapter about Stalin to get back to a chapter about the monster Hitler.
So three weeks and I'm finally done this epic and realized I didn't like it that much. It read too much like a text book with a bunch of facts and focused on the politics Germany and the Soviet Union. My favourite parts were the little bit of the personal lives we got of the two men at the beginning of the book as well as the descriptions of figuring out the best way of killing the Jews, that part was extremely hard to read but at least sparked some emotion. Otherwise there was just a bunch of f ...more
Charlotte Smith
Jun 23, 2013 Charlotte Smith rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I read this book when studying at college. It is very heavy going and I wold say it was over ambitious to try and taken on two political heavyweights of the 20th century and try and compare their histories in one complete volume! I can appreciate what the author was trying to convey but I do feel it was taking on a bit too much and the reader is left somewhat overloaded! I would recommend this for a student who already knows the Hitler and Stalin in some detail. Not recommended for a beginner of ...more
Nikos Papadatos
Aug 31, 2016 Nikos Papadatos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book.
Matthew Dambro
Oct 25, 2015 Matthew Dambro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magisterial work of dual biography. Baron Bullock wrote the first comprehensive biography of Hitler in 1952 "A Study in Tyranny". This volume is the culmination of a lifetime of study and thought on the blood drenched first half of the 20th Century. The comparisons are nuanced and beautifully written. The interplay between these two consummately evil men is detailed and comprehensive. If you wish to understand the 20th Century this is a must read.
Nov 24, 2007 Rick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A classic study of the Hitler and Stalin - don't be put off by the size of the book, this is compulsive reading. Stalin and Hitler never met however Lord Bullock interweaves their stories leading the reader with consumate ease through what could be a pretty tangled chronology. Highly recommended.
Myles Harrold
Wow, I can't believe how much I loved a history book. There were so many nuances to the war that this brook brought forth that at times I stayed up late and couldn't put this book down. The layout of this book read like a story and with the details of the history worked into the story.
Andy Vale
Oct 03, 2013 Andy Vale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this while at school. It's a weighty thing and I don't remember how I finished it, but felt all the richer for it. A thoroughly researched insight into the lives of two of the biggest figures of the 21st century. It's worth it just to see their school photos.
Mick Maye
Jun 25, 2011 Mick Maye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Explores the lifes of Hitler and Stalin. What they had in common and what was different. Follows how the circumstances enabled these 2 megalomaniacs to achieve power and the ways they maintained their power. Enjoyable book to read, not to heavy.
Jun 10, 2014 Gretchen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, but loooonnnnnggggg. Dubbed this a two-page-a-day book and that's how I went with it. Hitler was a guy people did not really want as a leader; Stalin was a boring back-bencher. They rose, they killed. Lessons for our time.
A monster of book about two very bad men doing horrible things to people. However, the book is also about what lead to their rise of power as well the effects the men had on the world around them. Fascinating as well as disturbing
Colin Woods
Aug 19, 2013 Colin Woods rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A huge 1100 page ride through forty catastrophic years of European history. It reads easily enough, though the Stalin era bits can be a bit heavy going. Read this with Shirer's equally huge and unputdownable Rise and Fall of the Thir Reich
Dec 11, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Notes from my reading in 2001: "Excellent and fascinating account of both mean and their impact on their nations and the world."

I have recommended and lent this on several occasions. "Parallel" is a surprising fact!
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