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message 1: by Josh (last edited Feb 13, 2010 06:04PM) (new)

Josh Liller (joshism) Any recommendations for good biographies of Stalin or Hitler?


message 2: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments Hi Josh,

There is a single book covering biographies on both Hitler and Stalin that was pretty comprehensive that was published some years ago:


Hitler and Stalin Parallel Lives by Alan Bullock by Alan Bullock


message 3: by Alan (new)

Alan (alanst) The Bullock volume is amazing in its detail. He also wrote one of the best biographies about Hitler as well. It is available, I believe, in both a full version and a more concise edition.


message 4: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments Hi Alan, Ian Kershaw has published a very detailed two volume biography on Adolf Hitler as well that has received some very good reveiws.

Hitler 1889-1936 Hubris by Ian Kershaw and Hitler 1936-1945 Nemesis by Ian Kershaw by Ian Kershaw


message 5: by Donster (new)

Donster | 29 comments The Kershaw books are very good. I think John Toland's biography of Hitler is also worthwhile. Essential reading would also have to include William Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich even though it's not strictly speaking a biography of Hitler. It provides a broader view of the Nazi leadership and how the Nazi state functioned.


message 6: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 600 comments I've never read this book, but it might be good.

Deathride by John Mosier by John Mosier


message 7: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments Thanks for the post on John Mosier's book Jerome, I think I may even have a copy somewhere, I better go have a look!


message 8: by Michael, Assisting Moderator Axis Forces (new)

Michael Flanagan (loboz) | 292 comments I have this one sitting on the shelf waiting to be read Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore BySimon Sebag Montefiore


message 9: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments Me too!

:)


message 10: by David A (new)

David A (lancer_325) | 134 comments Donster wrote: "The Kershaw books are very good. I think John Toland's biography of Hitler is also worthwhile. Essential reading would also have to include William Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich even th..."
Hi Donster. I like your choice of books here. all very good. i suggest reading Shirer's book to get a fuller picture of the nazi regieme if one isn't too familiar with the specific details of hitler's life. that way will enable the new reader to know what the theory behind the nazi's was. just my thoughts. all very enjoyable books though. Have to say i still go back to Kershaw time and again. My first book on hitler was John Toland's which i still find excellent despite having read it in school 25 years ago.


message 11: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Jun 21, 2012 02:08PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments Hi David,

Excellent recommendation you made in regards to John Toland's book on Hitler.

Adolf Hitler by John Toland by John Toland


message 12: by David A (new)

David A (lancer_325) | 134 comments Thanks Aussie Rick. Trying to find the review I did so I can post it here. John Toland's book on Hitler was the first major work in a world War II figure that I read when i was in school 25 years ago I still have the book now and it has to be one of if not my favourite WWII history books of all time. Ill find the review and post it here.


message 13: by David A (last edited Jun 22, 2012 03:30AM) (new)

David A (lancer_325) | 134 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "Hi David,

Excellent recommendation you made in regards to John Toland's book on Hitler.

Adolf Hitler by John Toland by John Toland"


Aussie Rick, i could not find where i had done my review of John Toland's book so here is a link to the review i have re-posted. http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
David


message 14: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments Great review David, thanks for posting it again. I am sure other members will really appreciate it.


message 15: by David A (new)

David A (lancer_325) | 134 comments Thanks Aussie Rick.


message 16: by Jolo (new)

Jolo G | 24 comments Jumping in on a really old discussion here...

Has anyone here tried to read "Hitler's War" by David Irving? I know he's a bit of dick for the holocaust denialism and anti-semitism that he espouses quite a lot, but the level of detail on his researches are quite unprecedented. It's probably the most annoying thing to read when you know it's coming from an Nazi-apologist, but still, the value of truth to some of his claims are not invalidated by his bias.

Personally, I haven't gotten to read the book by Irving (or any other else, besides "Trail of the Fox"), but it's been referenced a lot since I began reading about World War 2 in general. Kershaw and Toland's biographies are, so far, the best reference I have about Hitler's life, particularly Kershaw's.


message 17: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments I have read his two volumes covering Germany in WW2 before he started going on about denying the Holocaust and found them easy to read and decent enough accounts although getting dated now.

The War Path Hitler's Germany 1933-1939 by David Irving & Hitler's War by David Irving by David Irving


message 18: by Jolo (new)

Jolo G | 24 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I have read his two volumes covering Germany in WW2 before he started going on about denying the Holocaust and found them easy to read and decent enough accounts although getting dated now.

[bookc..."


Definitely worth the note. I think all of his works are available online. I personally don't like e-books. I prefer the bound book instead, but sometimes, you just got to make do with what you can. XD


message 19: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Sep 11, 2012 10:23PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments This book is due out for release this month in the UK (Sept. 2012) and it may interest some members here:

The Charisma of Adolf Hitler by Laurence Rees by Laurence Rees
Description:
Adolf Hitler was an unlikely leader - fuelled by hate, incapable of forming normal human relationships, unwilling to debate political issues - and yet he commanded enormous support. So how was it possible that Hitler became such an attractive figure to millions of people? That is the important question at the core of Laurence Rees' new book.

The Holocaust, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the outbreak of the Second World War - all these cataclysmic events and more can be laid at Hitler's door. Hitler was a war criminal arguably without precedent in the history of the world. Yet, as many who knew him confirm, Hitler was still able to exert a powerful influence over the people who encountered him.

In this fascinating book to accompany his new BBC series, the acclaimed historian and documentary maker Laurence Rees examines the nature of Hitler's appeal, and reveals the role Hitler's supposed 'charisma' played in his success. Rees' previous work has explored the inner workings of the Nazi state in The Nazis: A Warning from History and the crimes they committed in Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution. The Charisma of Adolf Hitler is a natural culmination of twenty years of writing and research on the Third Reich, and a remarkable examination of the man and the mind at the heart of it all.


message 20: by Michael, Assisting Moderator Axis Forces (new)

Michael Flanagan (loboz) | 292 comments AWESOME Laurence Rees is my favourite author.


message 21: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "This book is due out for release this month in the UK (Sept. 2012) and it may interest some members here:

The Charisma of Adolf Hitler by Laurence Rees by Laurence Rees
Description:
Adolf Hitler was an..."


Thanks Rick - Laurence Rees' works, both written and television, are excellent and so I will add this my TBR and await my library to get one on their stock.


message 22: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments Figured you guys would be interested in the book :) Has the BBC series started in the UK yet Geevee?


message 23: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments This new title may also interest a few of the group's members:


Generalissimo Stalin The Myth of Stalin as a Great Military Strategist by Boris Gorbachevsky by Boris Gorbachevsky
Description:
This new book from the author of Through the Maelstrom: A Red Army Soldier's War on the Eastern Front reveals a bitter truth about that war, which has thrown neo-Stalinists in Russia today into a fury. A frontline veteran who survived the most savage and continuous fighting of the Second World War refutes one of the primary Soviet myths: that it was Stalin's "brilliant strategic mind" and his "invaluable contributions" that brought about the eventual victory. Partially relying on his own frontline experience in fighting from Rzhev 1942 to Konigsburg 1945, the author argues that the Red Army emerged victorious from the war in spite of the Kremlin tyrant, who never spared his soldiers' lives and who recognized only one strategy: to break the Wehrmacht's resistance by overloading it with the corpses of Red Army soldiers. He maintains that it was the people who won the war, but Stalin stole the mantle of victory and donned it himself after the war. Gorbachevsky goes on to argue that the Soviet regime and recent official Russian estimates deliberately understated the staggering true cost of that victory, and reveals the scandalous official mistreatment of returning prisoners-of-war, neglect of war invalids and disregard of the millions of soldiers' remains lying in shallow, unmarked, often fraternal graves and the millions more still listed as "missing-in-action" - all of which show the Stalinist system's disdain for human life.


Also posted in the New Release thread.


message 24: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 600 comments This book was really good:

Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler The Age of Social Catastrophe by Robert Gellately by Robert Gellately (no photo)

Synopsis:

This remarkably ambitious book tells the story of the great social and political catastrophe that enveloped Europe between 1914 and 1945. In a period of almost continuous upheaval, society was transformed by two world wars, the Russian Revolution, the Holocaust, and the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Combining a powerful narrative with profound analysis, acclaimed historian Robert Gellately argues that these tragedies are inextricably linked and that to consider them as discrete events is to misunderstand their genesis and character. Central to the catastrophe, of course, were Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, and this book makes use of recently opened Russian and German sources to explain how these dictators’ pursuit of utopian—and dreadfully flawed—ideals led only to dystopian nightmare.

In a groundbreaking work, Gellately makes clear that most comparative studies of the Soviet and Nazi dictatorships are undermined by neglecting the key importance of Lenin in the unfolding drama. Rejecting the myth of the “good” Lenin, the book provides a convincing social-historical account of all three dictatorships and carefully documents their similarities and differences. It traces the escalation of conflicts between Communism and Nazism, and particularly of the role of Hitler’s anathema against what he called “Jewish Bolshevism.” The book shows how the vicious rivalry between Stalin and Hitler led inescapably to a war of annihilation and genocide. The reverberations of this gargantuan struggle are felt everywhere to this day.


message 25: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 600 comments A newer book by the same author:

Stalin's Curse Battling for Communism in War and Cold War by Robert Gellately by Robert Gellately (no photo)

Synopsis:

A chilling, riveting account based on newly released Russian documentation that reveals Joseph Stalin’s true motives—and the extent of his enduring commitment to expanding the Soviet empire—during the years in which he seemingly collaborated with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and the capitalist West.

At the Big Three conferences of World War II, Stalin persuasively played the role of a great world leader. Even astute observers like George F. Kennan concluded that the United States and Great Britain should view Stalin as a modern-day tsarist-like figure whose primary concerns lay in international strategy and power politics, not in ideology. Now Robert Gellately uses recently uncovered documents to make clear that, in fact, the dictator was an unwavering revolutionary merely biding his time, determined as ever to establish Communist regimes across Europe and beyond, and that his actions during these years (and the poorly calculated Western responses) set in motion what would eventually become the Cold War. Gellately takes us behind the scenes. We see the dictator disguising his political ambitions and prioritizing the future of Communism, even as he pursued the war against Hitler. Along the way, the ascetic dictator’s Machiavellian moves and bouts of irrationality kept the Western leaders on their toes, in a world that became more dangerous and divided year by year.

Exciting, deeply engaging, and shrewdly perceptive, Stalin’s Curse is an unprecedented revelation of the sinister machinations of the Soviet dictator.


message 26: by Jerome (new)

Jerome | 600 comments And another:

Stalin's Wars From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953 by Geoffrey Roberts by Geoffrey Roberts

Synopsis:

This breakthrough book provides a detailed reconstruction of Stalin’s leadership from the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 to his death in 1953. Making use of a wealth of new material from Russian archives, Geoffrey Roberts challenges a long list of standard perceptions of Stalin: his qualities as a leader; his relationships with his own generals and with other great world leaders; his foreign policy; and his role in instigating the Cold War. While frankly exploring the full extent of Stalin’s brutalities and their impact on the Soviet people, Roberts also uncovers evidence leading to the stunning conclusion that Stalin was both the greatest military leader of the twentieth century and a remarkable politician who sought to avoid the Cold War and establish a long-term detente with the capitalist world.
By means of an integrated military, political, and diplomatic narrative, the author draws a sustained and compelling personal portrait of the Soviet leader. The resulting picture is fascinating and contradictory, and it will inevitably change the way we understand Stalin and his place in history. Roberts depicts a despot who helped save the world for democracy, a personal charmer who disciplined mercilessly, a utopian ideologue who could be a practical realist, and a warlord who undertook the role of architect of post-war peace.


message 27: by Gerald (new)

Gerald Churchill | 435 comments Jerome wrote: "This book was really good:

Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler The Age of Social Catastrophe by Robert Gellately by Robert Gellately (no photo)

Synopsis:

This remarkably ambitious book tells the story of t..."


Dmitri Volkogonov rejects the myth of the good Lenin as well.


message 28: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments Thanks for those adds Jerome.


message 29: by Morgiana (new)

Morgiana | 73 comments OK, I know, this is not a real biography, but I think this is really interesting (or at least for me interesting;))
He's Back by Timur Vermes by Timur Vermes


message 30: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 | 4426 comments Since the death of the Soviet Union, there has been so much good writing on Stalin. I believe nothing beats:

Stalin The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag-Montefiore.

Sebag-Montefiore had access to the Stalin archives, but also sought out the friends and family members of Khrushchev, Zhdanov, Kaganovich, all the Alliluyevs, Svanidzes and many others. His book is a masterpiece.


message 31: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (last edited Sep 23, 2013 01:23PM) (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments Morgiana wrote: "OK, I know, this is not a real biography, but I think this is really interesting (or at least for me interesting;))
He's Back by Timur Vermes by Timur Vermes"


Thanks Morgiana - it looks very interesting although my German is not good enough to read it so I need to wait for an English edition.

What I find fascinating is that it is a story about Hitler, set in modern day Germany and published in that country. It is part of the slow but welcome journey that allows Germans to talk and discuss Hitler and their history without constant criticism or worries about personal abuse. The need to remember and not forget the Third Reich remains important but today's Germany is far removed from that dark country.


message 32: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (last edited Dec 23, 2013 01:17PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments I've moved this request for recommendation by one of our members, David A.

Hi I am looking for a good academic work on Joseph Stalin. I have read Simon Sebag montifiore as well as Radzinsky. But I'm looking for a good biography on the lines of Robert service, or the excellent work by Robert conquest "the great terror- a reassessment". Any recommendations of any new works would be appreciated. I'm looking for more of an 'internal' work, i.e. his management of the Soviet Union.

Any suggestions/recommendations?


message 33: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 | 4426 comments 'Aussie Rick' wrote: "I've moved this request for recommendation by one of our members, David A.

Hi I am looking for a good academic work on Joseph Stalin. I have read Simon Sebag montifiore as well as Radzinsky. But I..."


Academic works on Stalin's life are many. I prefer:

Stalin The Man and His Era by Adam B. Ulam Stalin: The Man and his Era by Adam Ulam.

Ulam was for many years considered among the foremost experts on the Soviet Union. He was director or the Russian Research Center at Harvard. I think his bio is the best, but dated slightly by significant new info from post-Soviet revelations.

Secondly, there is:

Stalin A Political Biography by Isaac Deutscher Stalin: A Political Biography by Isaac Deutscher

An excellent bio, very well-researched and well-written, but must be consumed with an eye toward Deutscher's political leftism.


message 34: by Geevee, Assisting Moderator British & Commonwealth Forces (new)

Geevee | 3796 comments I posted my ideas for you here https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... David.


message 35: by David A (new)

David A (lancer_325) | 134 comments Thanks all for the great suggestions. I think "cold peace" is def one I'm going to look into. It's description is exactly what I'm looking for at the moment. Will def browse all suggestions though. So thanks for the replies. Much appreciated.


message 36: by Feliks (last edited Jul 31, 2014 06:25PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) I heartily recommend The Rise and Fall of Stalin. It seems the most exhaustive and authoritative to me.

...and I myself am lookng forward to reading The Secret History Of Stalin's Crimes by Alexander Orlov, who is a very interesting Soviet figure, indeed.


message 37: by David A (new)

David A (lancer_325) | 134 comments Thanks Felix. Will definitely have a look at that given that you recommend it so highly.


message 38: by Feliks (last edited Jul 31, 2014 10:10PM) (new)

Feliks (dzerzhinsky) I do. Very smooth, easily-flowing read; even in the dryest sections. You can feel the author's devotion and earnestness to his topic.

He keep a temperate tone, however; passing no judgments. The dense appearance of the pages made me anticipate a slog; instead I found myself riveted and immersed. It is now one of the biographies I admire most of any I have ever read.

There are thorough, detailed footnotes and indexes; cross-references and maybe even a timeline (not a graphic, more like just a 1-page list of significant dates).

Make no mistake--in this kind of 'older' book, it is the academician-ship of the author and the confidence of the text which is the 'main draw'. It is not a book which relies on graphics to shore up its thinness.

Pre-internet: the only kind of book you can really trust.


message 40: by 'Aussie Rick', Moderator (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) | 18053 comments Joseph wrote: "Anyone read Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz by Rudolf Höss?"

Afraid not, can't help you there.


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