Paul Johnson, the most celebrated popular historian of our time, takes a scalpel to Stalin, whom he considers "one of the outstanding monsters of history."Johnson sets forth the essence of Stalin's life, character, and career. "It has been a hateful task, which has caused me much pain and disgust," he writes with characteristic candor. "But it has been a duty I have performed not without a certain grim satisfaction."
"Stalin poses a particular challenge to a biographer: How does one render such a monster human? While Johnson doesn't flinch from chronicling Stalin's rise to absolute power - the remorseless vendetta against Leon Trotsky, the development of the Gulag, the extermination of millions of peasants - he also shows Stalin playing billiards, listening to his adored Mozart, and annotating Marx's Capital in the margins.It is, in concise form, the story of Russia in the twentieth century: dark and murderous, a stage on which to display humanity's infinite capacity for self-destruction.
©2014 Paul Johnson (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
The blurb claims that the author has researched deeply into Stalin's psychology. For anyone interested in the subject, this feels more like the rambling lecture of a professor who has just skimmed over documents
"Great intro to an awful person"
A grim reminder that individual choices matter. Stalin didn't have to be heinous, sadistic, mass murderer...but he was.
"Brief History of Stalin"
This is a great short history of one of the world's most terrifying and unique individuals of history. This book covers major events in Stalin's life and how they shaped him and he shaped Russia and the world.
"Good short history, well read"
not meant to be the definitive work but a good summary, not overwhelming, Paul Johnson is good historian and the narration is very good as well.
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