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

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  2,011 Ratings  ·  56 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
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made a positive impression when it appeared in 1991. Alan Bullock’s distinguished academic career had been preceded by the publication of his biography of Hitler, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny which was acclaimed from its publication in 1951 as one of the finest explanations of Hitler. Beginning in the 1970s, Bullock became increasingly fascinated by the comparisons between the Nazi and Soviet empires - the irony of the theoretically opposed ideology but often startlingly similar methods, ...more
Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Must Read -- One of the truly great works of historical synthesis in the 20th century.
Gwynn White
Apr 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mario Russo
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
This is a great addition to world war II collection. The book delivers what is promised in the cover: Parallel lives of Hitler and Stalin, goes in depth of policts behind it all. Communism, nazism ideology, political context, Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, you got it all covered.

From everything I've known about Stalin so far, I think few things portray this man, as a phrase that is in the book, when he was informed about his wife suicide "She left me as an enemy".
Armin Hennig
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: geschichte
87/100 Eigentlich viereinhalb Sterne, ausführliche Rezi folgt.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Bullock delivers a fascinating exploration of the similarities between these two infamous leaders, made stronger and more convincing by the choice to compare their experiences at the same age (instead of what was happening in each man's life in a given year, say, 1938). A window not only into the lives of these two men, but the relationship between one's past and one's future.
Apr 29, 2011 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
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Carl Stevens
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The question "Is Trump like Hitler?" inspired me to read some three thousand pages of authentic history concluding with this magnificent tome. The answer is, "Yes, in some ways, now go read three thousand pages of authentic history yourself."
Andrew Harrison
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a first-rate book for the general reader. Alan Bullock distills a vast amount of material into a clear narrative. The style is elegant and crisp: there’s no shortage of detail, but he ensures that the reader doesn’t get bogged down in a swamp of superfluous information. Highly recommended.
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nicholas Bobbitt
DNF. The swamp of names, organizations, terms of academic history which make texts such as this devoid of life, and the author's insistence on using abbreviations and initialisms which serve only to make the story he is attempting to tell more confusing make this book, for me a disappointment. I appreciate what the author is attempting to do, but 1000 page long tomes tend to run out of steam and could be told in a more concise fashion. It certainly is an idea with merit, comparing two of history ...more
Feb 12, 2014 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
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
Lewis Smith
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 13, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Matthew Dambro
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Paul  Blair
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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!
Mick Maye
Jun 25, 2011 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.
Pallav Mishra
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Alan Bullock is definitely one of the key historians and authorities on the subject of Der Dritte Reich..though this subject is constantly being updated with fresh new material, nothing can take away from the works of Bullock, Shirer, Fest, etc.
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 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.
Marshall Robinson
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
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  • The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia
  • The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle
  • The Great Terror: A Reassessment
  • Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar
  • Hitler's Table Talk, 1941-1944
  • The Third Reich in Power (The History of the Third Reich, #2)
  • Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis (Hitler, #2)
  • Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General
  • The Hitler of History
  • Adolf Hitler
  • The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad
  • Army of Evil: A History of the SS
  • Hitler's Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, and the Nazi Welfare State
  • Stalin
  • The Last Days of Hitler
  • Hitler
  • Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth
  • The Third Reich: A New History

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“La ideología, en su acepción general de conjunto coherente de creencias, es algo de lo que la mayoría de los partidos políticos se jacta de poseer, o admite tener, aun cuando les moleste la palabra. Sin embargo, los regímenes creados por Stalin y Hitler fueron ideológicos en un sentido mucho más restringido: en el de un cuerpo de creencias cuya aceptación era obligatoria para cada ciudadano, siendo cualquier desviación de las mismas susceptible de ser considerada como crimen capital.” 0 likes
“The corruption at the heart of Communist ideology lay in the means. Social justice, greater freedom and equality, an end to exploitation and alienation are noble, humane ends. What compromised them fatally was the inhuman methods employed to achieve them. This was as true of Lenin and Trotsky as of Stalin.” 0 likes
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