BookBrowse Reviews Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore

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Young Stalin

by Simon Sebag Montefiore

Young Stalin
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2007, 496 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2008, 528 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Vy Armour

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The story of a charismatic, darkly turbulent boy born into poverty, of doubtful parentage, scarred by his upbringing but possessed of unusual talents who ruled the Soviet Union for more than 30 years

With ten years of meticulous research from newly-opened archives, Montefiore has written four hundred-sixty pages, including forty-four of source notes, seven of bibliography, six of acknowledgments, and thirty-two of photographs. What could have been a tedious task to read is instead, as described by many notable reviewers, "gripping, brilliant, and astonishing."

Young Stalin superbly achieves the author's intention: to show the development and early maturity of the ultimate politician. What missing empathy in Stalin's upbringing allowed him to kill so easily, but equally what qualities equipped him so well for political life? Stalin's success was at least partly due to his unusual upbringing that combined a seminary education and street violence; he was that rare combination of intellectual and killer, "half Osama bin Laden, half Tony Soprano .... incredibly complex and ...

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