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This is an excellent book, perhaps even better than Montefiore's In the Court of the Red Tsar. It is surprising so many details of Stalin's life as a young revolutionary survived the ordered destruction of his personal history. Georgia was distant enough from Moscow that first person memoirs, letters, and documents survived destruction, setting in forgotten drawers. The reader/listener gets an amazingly detailed account of Stalin the prodigy, teenaged poet, under-sized street fighter, angry seminary student reading Karl Marx, the quirky promiscuous rebel with multiple children born out of wedlock, the organizer of bank robberies and extortions to fund the revolution, the intellectual who read every book he got his hands on, and finally the indispensable (to Lenin anyway) behind-the-scenes political manipulator. Much in the book runs against what was accepted in the West about his life for decades. Despite his small stature, for example, he gave and received physical beatings yet was an exceptional child in nearly every school subject. Not enough praise can be given the narrator, James Adams, for his breezy handling of difficult Georgian and Russian words and names—he does an exemplary job. This listener highly recommends this book for history buffs, Stalin buffs, and students of the period.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Offers a much deeper humanistic look into who Stalin was.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Stalin for his ability to change, agitate, manipulate and steal. He was a magician and brilliant actor and that isn't something that gets noticed, All is said is his atrocities and this book shows the talented human being behind the history.
What about James Adams’s performance did you like?
Solid, eloquent and engaging.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Too long for one sitting and also too rich, I am going to listen to that last few chapters during the revolution as I had fallen off and want to reengage with it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful