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

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  1,397 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Forty years after his Hitler: A Study in Tyranny set a standard for scholarship of the Nazi era, Lord Alan Bullock gives readers a breathtakingly accomplished dual biography that places Adolf Hitler's origins, personality, career, and legacy alongside those of Joseph Stalin--his implacable antagonist and moral mirror image.
Paperback, 1152 pages
Published November 2nd 1993 by Vintage (first published 1991)
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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
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
Must Read -- One of the truly great works of historical synthesis in the 20th century.
Gwynn White
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
May 31, 2011 Alex marked it as to-read
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
団地 妻
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!
Well written, though a little forced. Bullock's biography of Hitler is better, and they're better biographies of Stalin also.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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!
Wonderful book about the banality of evil. Also, made me think of Lewis' "The Great Divorce". In making bad decisions now you may be turning yourself into the sort of person who makes worse decisions later.
Marshall Robinson
This book is a tome! Over 1000 pages as I recall. A very educational history of the devastating results when ruthless dictators are allowed control of a country. Very worth reading for the serious historian.
Eepic biography, Allan Bullock puts the two most brutal monsters of the twentieth century, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin together and compares their similarities and contrasts as leaders.

Klára K
That's great book, pity it's quite heavy :-) If you are interested in any part of Hitler's or Stalin's life, you can find it there.
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