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Summary

Winner of the Costa Biography Award, 2007.

Young Stalin is a remarkable adventure story about an exceptional, turbulent young man, born in exoticism, raised in the church, fancying himself a poet, then embracing revolutionary idealism and thereby finding his romantic, Messianic mission in life.

All the roots of Stalin the Great Dictator can be traced to his youth - not merely his psychology, but his hatreds, his loves, his intellectual interests, his gangsterish murderousness, his friendships, his knowledge of the world. Above all, in the underground Bolshevik life are the seeds that grew into the paranoia and Terror of the Soviet imperium. Young Stalin is the product of major new research.

This book is the prequel to the international best-selling biography Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar.

©2007 Simon Sebag Montefiore (P)2006 Orion Publishing Group Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Good old Secret Police for keeping tabs !

Superb recent history of pre-revolution Stalin, from childhood up to October 1917. Based largely it seems on recently released archival material. Those Russkies kept records on everything and everyone. Stalin is revealed to be a far more interesting and human character from the cold fish terror of 'The Terror' and beyond. I had bought the second volume (The Court of the Red Tsar) first, thinking this is the Stalin I want to know about. Big Mistake which I realised about 10 minutes in. You need to know what comes before the 1930's purging Stalin, indeed what helps explain (as much as one can) the infectious paranoia of those times. The fascinating story of Stalin's early life may help.

The dialogue is fabulous, the narration is superb. Sean Barratt has one of the great documentary voices. Some knowledge of Russian history of this time might be useful, yet the brief sketches of Lenin , Trotsky and other major figures and events are probably enough. This is not a detailed history of Communism, more a tale of a model dictator and how he came to be. The scary thing is, at times you feel you could have liked him !

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Why the abridgement?

This is a good book revealing much about the young dictator's life and times. And it is well read. Barrett's voice is something of a growling drone. But not unpleasantly so. And his tone suits the serious, grim nature of the subject.

As for the abridgement. Surely anyone interested enough to choose this book is interested in studying the Russian revolution and Russia in the 20th century and so will want more information, not less. Why go to the trouble and expense of publishing an abridged version of the book? Its as if some bright spark thinks that the public are too stupid to read or listen to the whole work, so we are given a spoon fed version istead.

Having said that, the abridgement seems well done, except that the chapter starts and ends are meaningless. The book is just one long monologue.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Only if you have nothing more to read

I normally enjoy his works as I've read many. However, this one didn't impress me at all. I like this kinda staff and would like to read more but not this book. It's very superficial and only may come as addition to his other work about Stalin.

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    5 out of 5 stars

THRILLING LIFE STORY

The author was overly keen in my opinion to keep pointing out that Stalin was a bad man... every time Stalins actions were admirable or lovable .

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Leaves so much out of book

I read the book along with the listening to audio and it skips a lot from each paragraph. It even has the cheek to skip the last few chapters and briefly summarises the epilogue

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Judith
  • Judith
  • 17-01-12

Get inside Stalin's head with this story

If you could sum up Young Stalin in three words, what would they be?

Mesmerising, engrossing and thrilling

What did you like best about this story?

The degree of details available though Stalin's personal letters and/or the records from close associates and the police and secret service.

Have you listened to any of Sean Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. Not bad got to like his voice eventually.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

What made Stalin the murderer he became

Any additional comments?

An essential novel for anyone interested in the what and why of the Soviet system. A book that must be listen to before the other book of Simon Sebag Monetfiore, the Court of the Red Czar - also an excellent book.

  • Overall
    out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anthony
  • Anthony
  • 28-06-09

Informative

Very informative