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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2007 Simon Sebag Montefiore; (P)2006 Orion Publishing Group Ltd
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Customer Reviews

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By Judith on 01-17-12

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.

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By Anthony on 06-28-09


Very informative

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By Hector Chub on 09-04-10

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 !

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By Mr. Acapella on 08-11-16

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.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By Brubey on 08-17-16

What is the making of a tyrant?

If we as a society of highly intelligent social creatures are to improve as civilisations, then we must learn why people the people they become. This is especially so for those despotic leaders we've come to despise for their deeds. This why, I believe Young Stalin is essential reading.

It is a very well written, easy to read account how Stalin evolved into a self-centred despot, as it exposes his fractured childhood by an absentee drunken, abusive father and over-protective, clinging mother which goes to somewhat explain his fear of being robbed of supreme adulation. Highly recommend this book.

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