Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin” as Want to Read:
The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  258 ratings  ·  29 reviews
In a spellbinding novel that combines the suspense of a thriller and the accuracy of a work of history, the psychology of a monster is fully revealed, every atom of his madness explored, every twist of his homicidal logic followed to its logical conclusion. "Leon Trotsky is trying to kill me," thinks Joseph Stalin. It's a paranoid lie, but all too real to Stalin. Trotsky, ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 5th 2000 by Da Capo Press (first published 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  258 ratings  ·  29 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Sep 02, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction, non-fiction
The problem with this book is my expectation. I wanted in depth look at this dude, but what I got was a YA book. I didn't know it would be this, but I should've guessed at the clues; its only 255 pgs, and its got a cheesy illustration cover of a gorgeous redheaded broad sitting on the lap of a uniformed Stalin, with a look on his face that screams...:"I dont know what this thing on my lap's stroking my chin, should I kill it, or do I have an erection?" Just look at that illustration abov ...more
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-good-shit
what a creepy little read!

i'm a long way from an expert on Russian history, altho Wikipedia gave me the bare bones on Stalin and Trotsky... fascinating.

this book does an interesting balancing act between the two, and between historical fact and fiction. Stalin comes across as a thug with an immense skill for manipulating power, and Trotsky comes across as a towering intellect with zero ability to handle people. what a pair!

Stalin's observations on the manipulation of power are a master class in
Sergio Armisén
May 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Cogí este libro con autentica prevención y la verdad es que me ha sorprendido: aunque la premisa de inicio no puede ser más absurda -está escrito en primera persona desde el punto de vista de Stalin, como si de una "autobiografía" se tratase-con todo el riesgo de caer en el ridículo o la caricatura que ello conlleva, la novela es muy entretenida y el autor hace un buen trabajo.

Es obvio que intentar retratar la psique de alguien como Stalin es un ejercicio de riesgo y también es muy cierto que Ri
Eric Holt
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
In the Autobiography of Joseph Stalin, It tells about the life of the Russian Dictator Stalin. Joseph Stalin was born Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili in the village of Gori, in the Russian province of Georgia, on Dec. 21, 1879. His Dad was a shoemaker and was also an alchaholic, he left young Stalin and his mother to find work in Tiflis, thus leaving Stalins mother to raise him alone. His mother was the main influence of his life, she chose what schools he went to, first she enroled him in the ...more
Tyler Jones
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a strange, compelling novel posing as the memoir of one of the most reviled figures of the twentieth century. Set during the communist party purges of the 'thirties, Stalin reminisces about his journey from seminary student to bank robber to dictator. Meanwhile in Mexico City, Leon Trotsky is coming close to discovering a devastating secret about Stalin's past and must be eliminated before the truth can come to light.

A bleak, yet often very funny account of how talent and imagination ar
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's a psychotic despot who's responsible for as many as 15-20 million deaths. This is a look at how such an evil man might think.

It's paranoid, bleak, over-the-top, and funny as hell at times.

If you don't grasp that it's basically a look into the mind of a guy who'd kill you for saying the wrong thing, then you probably need to actually LEARN about Stalin FIRST.

This is NOT where you learn about Stalin. This is where you come when you understand the gulags and the horror and you have a dark mind
May 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ale by był numer gdyby ta osnuta na historii bajka okazała się prawdą. Louri jest genialnym historykiem i jeszcze lepszym psychologiem. A najlepszym w tej książce jest to, że wujaszek na 100% przewraca się w grobie i już nic nie może na to poradzić.
JJ Coppinger
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Deeply disturbing. Stalin is one of the more fascinating characters of the last century. This book gives good insight into what drove him.
Carmenza Uribe
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
Una impactante biografía de Iósif Stalin, uno de los personajes más influyentes del siglo XX. Con la enigmática frase “León Trotski intenta matarme” empieza un viaje hacia la maldad y la paranoia de un ser atormentado y complejo que pasó parte de su vida en una lucha a distancia con León Troski, para ver quién acababa primero con el otro. La novela está narrada en primera persona lo que la convierte en un relato escalofriante cargado de cinismo y frialdad: “Cuando yo era joven escribía poemas. L ...more
Stephen Partington
Summary: A clever and thoughtful appraisal of an important world leader, designed as a psychological thriller in the form of an autobiography.

I found this book almost entirely convincing as a yarn by a self-obsessed yet brilliant political tactician.
Lourie's accounts of Stalin's thinking almost endeared me to him. To my mind, it's a sign of good writing when an author can counter a reader's revulsion to such an extent that we begin to feel as the hero feels.
One of many interesting threads in the
Frank Kool
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
"Leon Trotsky is trying to kill me."

Those seven words rank high on my list of favorite opening sentences because of their simplicity and effectiveness. The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin: a novel is a superbly written book that takes us deep into the mind of a pathologically paranoid dictator, a manipulative tyrant who reduces everyone he sees to his/her political use-value and above all, sees treason everywhere he looks. At its best, the novel can stand toe-to-toe with the likes from Kurt Vonne
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it
I can't help but be underwhelmed by this. I went into this expecting an in-depth look at Stalin's mind, at least in the eyes of the author. And I did get that, at least a little bit. The problem for me lies in the fact that it basically stops at 1940. I was hoping to get a peak into Stalin's mind as Operation Barbarosa was underway or perhaps as the Soviet Flag was raised over the Reichstag or even as the Nazi leader himself died. But instead, we get many a rumination on the revolution, imprison ...more
Feb 04, 2014 rated it liked it
An authentically chilling mini-biography of the great demon Stalin, once the great saviour of the Motherland(funny how history turns the tables),that focuses largely on his obsession with killing Trotsky , a deed which he was,of course, able to accomplish. If you 'd like a trip inside the mind of a man with no scruples, no God and no love except for himself,then this is a short ride to hell and thanks to its brevity, you get the essence of the man without lingering too long.Much longer real biog ...more
Feb 21, 2016 rated it liked it
was für ein großartiger mist: die fiktive biographie stalins, von den jugendjahren bis zum attentat auf trotzki, seinem ewigen antagonisten im exil. der diktator analysiert und interpretiert sein leben, seinen werdegang, wie er zu dem wurde, was er ist. er vermittelt uns ungeahnte abgründe und abscheulichkeiten, schwächen und fehltritte. und er fürchtet vor allem eines, dass trotzki stalins geheimstes verbrechen entlarvt, daher setzt er alles auf dessen tod.

Sophie Schiller
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book will creep you out but it is so well written, it will take you into the sadistic, psychotic, paranoid psyche of one of the 20th century's most ruthless Communist Dictators/Killers. If that grosses you out, keep away, but if you think you can face the devil and slay him, dive right in. I won't give you any spoilers except to say the ending is perfect, like a shot of vodka and some blinis on a cold winter's night. In Siberia.
Oct 12, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: richard-lourie
Z dwóch znanych powieści tego autora ta jest zdecydowanie lepsza. Pisane w pierwszej osobie dzieje Stalina a konkretnie wyrywek dotyczący obławy na Trockiego, uzupełniona wspomnieniami dotyczącymi kariery w partii komunistycznej i dochodzenia do władzy z zaskakującą i ciekawą puentą. Bardzo ciekawe są też fragmenty dotyczące zasad sprawowania władzy, tworzenia atmosfery strachu i - takie kafkowskie - momenty bezradności ofiar Stalina. Ciekawa i fajna.
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Even after multiple readings, I find new layers to the 'Autobiography of Joseph Stalin'. More than a great many other novels, it manages to capture many of the dark themes that dominated the terrible events of the early and mid-twentieth century. Though this book doesn't seem widely known, I would highly recommend it.
Jun 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this at some point during high school, and re-read it during college. Absolutely brilliant first and last sentences, which I still remember offhand (it begins, "Leon Trotsky is trying to kill me" - I won't give away how it ends here). Rather brilliant in between, as well - incredibly imaginative.
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
(This book is fiction.) What would be inside the mind of a sociopathic, meglomaniacal dictator who scared the bejesus out of just about everybody in the Soviet Union? And yet he can't understand why people are acting so weird around him.
Lourie takes factual information and embellishes it with opinions and machinations that he believes would represent Stalin. You get to find out what his thoughts might have been about hiring an assassin or having his wife commit suicide in the next room. Juicy. Stalin was a jerk!
Oct 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, historical
Loved the book. I just think it's a bad decision to let the entire book revolve around Trotski, and not, for example, Stalin's thoughts about world War two.
Drew Thompson
Feb 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
A fascinating trip into a heart of darkness. The book delves into the rise and motivations of a truly evil man...
Claudia Putnam
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Chilling. Relies heavily on Trotsky's account, but gets into Stalin's head in a convincing way all the same.
Chris O'Brien
Dec 24, 2012 added it
Shelves: 2013
I had bought this book more than 20 years ago, and schlepped it around ever since. Finally read it. It was okay.
Hope Golden
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
As a Soviet history fanatic I really enjoyed reading this dark humor book. It really goes into the emotions and actions behind the feeling of the figures involved.
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
seems all too real...grimly funny
Mayukh Ghosh
NYC NOVEL....Liked it!!!
May 10, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: adults
Not horrible. Interesting idea. Stalin comes off as a major jerk (I know, big surprise).
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Get inside the head of Stalin, the "man of steel" who ruled the Red Empire for thirty years.
Indira Dookharan
rated it really liked it
Jul 16, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Stalin Epigram
  • The Commissar Vanishes:  The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin's Russia
  • Trotsky: A Graphic Biography
  • Peter the Great
  • Soviet Tragedy: A History of Socialism in Russia
  • Le météorologue
  • Hammer & Tickle: A History Of Communism Told Through Communist Jokes
  • Stalin's Folly: The Tragic First Ten Days of WWII on the Eastern Front
  • When God Looked the Other Way: An Odyssey of War, Exile, and Redemption
  • Shostakovich and Stalin: The Extraordinary Relationship Between the Great Composer and the Brutal Dictator
  • I Chose Freedom
  • The Silent Steppe: The Memoir of a Kazakh Nomad Under Stalin
  • The Oak And The Calf: Sketches Of Literary Life In The Soviet Union
  • Sektion 20
  • Red Mutiny: Eleven Fateful Days on the Battleship Potemkin
  • Lost Splendor: The Amazing Memoirs of the Man Who Killed Rasputin
  • Monumental Propaganda
  • The Soviet Experiment: Russia, the USSR, and the Successor States
See similar books…