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really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  1,261 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
From the author of "The Last Tsar," the first full-scale life of Stalin to have what no previous biography has entirely gotten hold of: the facts. Granted privileged access to Russia's secret archives, Edvard Radzinsky paints a picture of the Soviet strongman as more calculating, ruthless, and blood-crazed than has ever been described or imagined. Stalin was a man for whom ...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published August 18th 1997 by Anchor (first published 1995)
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Paul Bryant
What I remember very vividly from this one is that before the weird 1917 revolution the communists were like gangsters, they were on the run, they were holding up banks to finance the revolution, they were the rootingest tootingest shootingest communists in town, and young Jack Stalin was up for it, he was the Billy the Kid of the Caucasus, he was there when you needed him with his handy stick of dynamite. (I remember back in the 80s and 90s the IRA in Northern Ireland were exactly the same.) So ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
استالين ساليان دراز براى من جذاب و مرموز بود. گاهى وقت ها تحسينش هم مى كردم. شايد جاذبه اى كه قدرت و نگاهش داشته در ناخوداگاه كودكى من اثر گذاشه بود. گذشت زمان به نفرتم از او افزود. تا اين كتاب را خواندم. عجيب است. بى ارزش ترين چيز برايش انسان ها بوده اند. ميليون ها نفر را به كشتن داده است. صحبت از چرايى و اهدافش نمى كنم. هيچ انديشه و هدفى ارزش اين را ندارد كه انسان و انسانيت قربانيش شود. تمامى مخالفانش را كشت. موافقانش را هم. تمامى بستگان، دوستان، دوستانِ دوستان، بستگانِ بستگانِ بستگانش، مفاخر ...more
Feb 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read this book in a span of about three or four weeks and could not put it down. It read like a novel and was very engrossing. It details every aspect of Stalin's life, first as the child Soso, then as the revolutionary Koba, and finally as the iron-willed dictator Stalin. The Bolshevik revolution of October 1917 is covered and then it details Stalin's rise in the Party. In 1922 he became General Secretary and two years later Lenin died setting in motion the power struggle that took place over ...more
baQer (BFZ)
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
انقلاب، مثل ساترن(خدای یونانی)، بچههای خود را میکشد. مواظب باشید! خدایان تشنهاند
نویسنده روسی، وادیم ارلیکمان، از کسانی است که کل کشته شدگان در دوره استالین را حدود ۹ میلیون نفر میداند. ۱٫۵ میلیون نفر اعدام، ۵ میلیون قربانی گولاگ(اردوگاه کار اجباری)، ۱٫۷ میلیون قربانی تبعید دسته جمعی (از مجموع ۷٫۵ میلیون تبعیدی)، و ۱ میلیون سایر
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Downright scary. But the author, with the aid of access to previously secret USSR official files, was probably better at getting inside the mind of a bloodthirsty monster like Stalin than anyone else previously could do. I can totally understand why Edvard Radzinsky has his reputation as the top historical biographer in Russia today. I'm looking forward to reading more of his stuff.
Natalie Keating
Thank goodness this book is OVER. I didn't learn very much—granted, I've read a ton on Stalin, but still. it's hardly the "explosive" biography it promises to be. The writing style grated on my nerves. I know Radzinsky isn't a professional historian, but still, a semblance of objectivity would have been nice. That is, I was not a fan of the innumerable personal anecdotes sprinkled liberally throughout! The only good parts were the few pages that mentioned Admiral Kolchak (one of my favorite peop ...more
Paul Bustion
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
I read this book when I was in the ninth grade. I did not like it. It is full of conspiracy theories and garbage. For example the author claims that the USSR was planning to attack Germany first without producing any documents supporting his claim directly, only his own interpretation of the documents. He also focuses on Stalin's alleged anti-Semitism. I do not agree that Stalin was anti-Semitic. Even though he murdered many Jews in the USSR's government, he basically replaced them with other Je ...more
Oct 03, 2012 is currently reading it
The author's purpose of Stalin is to entertain and inform. I think the author's purpose is to entertain. I think the author Edvard Radzinsky wanted to entertain the readers or Stalin because many people think it is very entertaining to learn about the role some leaders had in Wold War II. I think another one of the authors purposes was to inform because he is letting all the readers of Stalin know how much of an impact Joseph Stalin had in World War II. So overall I think the authors purposes we ...more
Leon Keylin
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
The research done in this book is solid. I read both Russian and English stories, articles, and even books on the recently (if you can call mid nineties that) opened archived by the FSB (then KGB).

Radzinsky does little to interfere with his opinion. He is solely the messenger here, the message is what has been rumored about, spoken of, conspired around, and basically shared in millions of dining rooms, "skomeyak" while old men played dominoes.

Most of what is projected to the reader has been kn
Jul 08, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a lively, well-written and dramatic biography of Stalin. That said, it doesn't break very much new ground, and some of Edvard Radzinsky's theories seem to lack solid historical support: that Hitler invaded Russia only as Stalin was planning to attack Germany, or that Stalin was plotting a final nuclear holocaust before he died in 1953.

I was also skeptical of the author's use of the theory of "in-depth speech," under which the meaning of things said by Stalin and other Communists is inte
Feb 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
This is a good book.

Radzinksy has his facts and proves them. Sometimes he makes guesses but they are well calculated and predictable rather than some wild random ones. Overall I liked his writing style.

Reading the book, I wondered how someone could be so stone-hearted devoid of compassion toward another human being same as himself. I wonder how he dealt with it inside himself. Probably something like: "For the greater good" was always on his mind.

One thing to mention about the author is even tho
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
For some time now, the major ideas influencing current events in the 2010s have fascinated me: where do they come from? What is their history? Will they serve us ill or are they in fact beneficial for our society? During the course of my ruminations, it occurred to me that our era isnt necessary a post-individual epoch (even though it sure feels like one, in which we continuously remind our fellow citizens how unremarkable they actually are on a day-to-day basis), but merely one in which the ide ...more
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite being an easy entertaining and rather informative read, I'd be very careful recommending this book to others. The author seems to have some big claims for which historical evidences are just not strong enough. That being said though, reader can use his or her own judgment, disqualify the claims and learn about the factual evidences.
Christian Bauman
Jul 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
This has been sitting on my shelf unread since 2004 or so. I do that with biographies, especially big ones: buy them and them give them time to breathe. Anyway, not long shy of reading Amis's House of Meetings, was reminded I was overdue on this.
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
خواندن این کاب به من ثابت کرد که ترس چه نیروی قدرمندی است. ترس می تواند ملت هارا به زانو در بیاورد و انسان ها را به بردگی بکشاند
بسیار عالی نوشته شده و بیشتر به شکل رمان است تا زندگینامه
کتاب چاپ شده از کیفیت چاپی بالایی هم برخوردار است با تصاویر گلاسه
ترجمه کتاب هم بسیار عالیست
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it

The research and information contained in the book is very good. So if you need a resource for the life of Joseph Stalin and his part in history I highly recommend it. It is well written.
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
حتی هنگام خواندن صفحات آخر کتاب هم نمیتوانستم باور کنم رئیس هم میتواند بمیرد.
Jim Talbott
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly entertaining book, Radzinsky creates a portrait that summarizes much of what was both compelling and horrible about Stalin.
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Well researched and compelling - read like a novel.
Jul 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Great writer; great access to materials.
Edy Gies
Feb 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book not exactly a page turner but it does show how completely evil Stalin was. The end was chilling and poignant.
Rashmi Raut
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The foreword is beautiful. The writer got me there!~
Nick Wallace
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully presented biography of one of history's great bastards.
John Yiannoudis
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
detailed, innovative approach. A bit tiresome due to size
Rithun Regi
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Comprehensive read on Stalin. Compulsive reading.Stalin was more evil than Hitler.
John Roberson
A bit disappointing and short on detail, and frankly I would have gotten more from re-reading Robert Conquest. Possibly better for someone who hasn't read much on the subject yet, but it adds nothing that hasn't been dealt with better in other books. And the fact it's a Stalin biography that only took me a couple of days to read in itself says something.
Jay Wright
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book to read. Do not expect this to be a traditional biography. The author depends on oral histories and records in the Russian KGB archives. Few have had access to these sources. Even though it is not well footnoted, it is well informed and appears accurate. It is very readable.
Steven  Passmore
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
First off I don't know how old this book is but it seems like dated gossip. Some of the things claimed in the book are disproven by the release of KGB files. The author has a penchant for scandals and drama.
Peter Babczuk
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good and objective insight in the greatsest massmurder of the 20th century. Began as a terroirst and executioner just like che guevara
Jeff Loveness
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A devastating history. There are so many parallels to our present age and lessons to be learned. It's horrifying, hilarious, and illuminating.
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Radzinsky (Russian: Эдвард Радзинский) is an author of more than forty popular non-fiction books on historical subjects. Since the 1990s, he has written the series Mysteries of History. The books translated to English include his biographies of Tsars Nicholas II and Alexander II, Rasputin, and Joseph Stalin. His book Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia ...more
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