Rogier's Reviews > Stalin

Stalin by Robert Service
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's review
Jan 06, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: history

This is a great second biography to read about Stalin, though I'm not sure what should be the first. Either that, or you have to have a thorough understanding of Russian history before embarking on this book, because it takes too much for granted, including details about Stalin's own acts.

The point of this book is that it is one of the first biographies since the opening of Soviet archives in recent years, and thus it covers a lot that was previously only anecdotal, and Stalin for one made sure that his biographies were highly stylized, and that few details about his early life were ever available. I learned a lot from the book, but it remained unsatisfactory to me, because I do not at this point have that deep background on Soviet history. The figure of Stalin is important to me more from the standpoint of WWII history, and in general as one of histories favorite villains, a role he evidently fills to overflowing.

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