Hadrian's Reviews > Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore
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's review
Apr 02, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: history, politics-and-foreign-policy, wwii, biography-memoir, the-evil-that-men-do

For a while, I was tempted to believe that all people have a little core of good in them. Even Hitler had a few tiny sentimental spots.

Stalin doesn't even have that - he is a beast. A terrifying man, and this biography spares no details about the terrors of life around him. His retainers are also fascinating in their own twisted way. Extremely enlightening(?!) and fascinating book about the nature of modern tyranny.
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03/13 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by GT (new) - rated it 5 stars

GT I'm reading this now. Both were sadistic, but at least Hitler was selective. Everyone was a target with Stalin. Killing your own army and commanders during war is mind-boggling to me.

For me, the strength of the book is the mini-biographies of the people involved with the government. One really gets a feel of who these people were and operated.

Hadrian After reading Moscow 1937, I kept coming back to a remark by the authors' about how he was the purges targeted all persons with technical expertise - maybe to prevent anyone else but himself and a select few at the top from getting a more informed or critical view of the society he intended to create. Though it is still beyond me to say what motivated him to send out quotas for imprisonment and execution.

And four years later, I still remember the biographical details from this book. I've got Montefiore's new book about the Romanovs, and I'll be looking forward to that soon.

message 3: by Negin (new)

Negin I'm adding this to my list. Thank you for a great review, Hadrian, and GT, thank you for your comments. I've enjoyed reading both.

message 4: by GT (new) - rated it 5 stars

GT Anytime Negin.

I also have the Romanov (looks awesome) but I will be reading that Stalin biography by Stephen Kotkin you recently reviewed. I saw it at Borders and couldn't stop reading. After that, if I'm not too burned out on Stalin I'm going to attack Robert C. Tucker.

message 5: by Hadrian (last edited Aug 27, 2016 03:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hadrian Negin: Thank you!

GT: The Romanov was interesting. It doesn't have the extensive focus of Montefiore's other works - probably because he's trying to write about 300 years instead of 30 - but he does still have that knack for description and snappy anecdote.

message 6: by GT (new) - rated it 5 stars

GT Thanks Hadrian!

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