My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was a very well researched and written history of Stalin’s initial years and involvement in the Revolution led by Lenin. If you have any interest in Stalin and the Marxist/Leninist movement of the early 20th century, this is a book you’ll want to read.
Sadly, the author planned a three volume series, but did not live long enough to publish the third volume.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Everyone over 40 years old has probably heard of ol’ Joe Stalin, but do you really know him? Do you really know what kind of a man he was? For many years after WWII, no one outside of the U.S.S.R. really knew the true Stalin. And sadly, the majority within the U.S.S.R. didn’t know him either, really.
This book and its predecessor will lead you down the rabbit hole and into the surreal labyrinth of Stalin’s mind. It will show you how this man thought of himself and what motivated him to be one of history’s greatest monsters; rivaling, if not surpassing Hitler in his vile and vengeful narcissistic exploits.
We all know “Uncle Joe” was not the mellow, pipe-smoking benevolent Socialist leader that photographs often show. He was a psychopath of the 1st Order. Robt. C. Tucker will enlighten you with regards to Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili. You will see a true monster come to life in these pages.
Some of Stalin’s “accomplishments”:
– He managed to totally upend Lenin’s interpretation of Engels’ and Marx’ philosophy regarding Socialism and usurp it to his own ends as perceived by his twisted mind.
– In the process, he, through fear and intimidation (not directly, but through his minions) managed to gain total autocratic power in the U.S.S.R by the 1930s.
– Having attained unquestioned supremacy, he then went about seeking vengeance against any and all who had ever in any way offended his sterling heroic sense of self.
– In The Great Purge (AKA Stalin’s Reign of Terror) of the 1930s (peaking in ’39), Stalin managed to eliminate millions of Soviet citizens; mostly old Bolshevik cohorts, top government officials, top military officials, and countless friends, family members, co-workers, and acquaintances of the aforementioned.
– While the purging went on, Stalin even managed to remain blameless. The lower classes (peasants, laborers, etc.) still thought of him as Lenin’s disciple and the man who brought Russia and the other Soviets together in one harmonious socialist dream world.
– In later years, Stalin made sure, often by writing/editing them himself, that all the histories and his biographies of the Revolution, Russia, and Stalin were exactly as he saw them in his own mind. He influenced education, literature, dramatic arts, movie making, and general culture of the U.S.S.R. to reflect his vision… his dream… his twisted version of history and his part in it.
It’s truly difficult to understand how Stalin managed to do this. Fear is a very, very serious motivator. I’m not talking fear of a spider or fear of catching the flu. I’m talking about absolute dread; the ultimate fear for your life and the lives of all those you love. This is what motivated many, many prisoners in Stalin’s NKVD headquarters to confess to outrageous crimes against the State. This is what motivated these same prisoners to denounce friends and coworkers by the millions as being conspirators in these crimes. It’s truly mind blowing how this all occurred.
If you have any interest in history and understand George Santayana’s oft-quoted warning, you should read these books by Tucker. I assure you that you will learn a thing or two and scratch your head quite often in wonder. You might even see parallels in our current world.