By 1937, Stalin’s “obsession with menace,” both domestically and externally, spurred the Great Terror: mass arrests, show trials of “Trotskyites,” and murders of “enemies” far and wide, including the purge of his inner circle and officer corps. In the new Stalin biography, however, what Kotkin promises is nothing less than “a history of the world from Stalin… It is also, like its predecessor, a landmark achievement in the annals of the biographer's art. Jennifer Siegel, The New York Times Book Review “A masterly account... Kotkin offers the sweeping context so often missing from all but the best biographies... Stalin is a complex work... but it presents a riveting tale, one written with pace and aplomb. Stephen Kotkin is the John P. Birkelund Professor in History and International Affairs at Princeton and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. begins with an eerie literary portrait of a rather ordinary man suffering some physical deformities that made him self-conscious; he also displayed coarse manners from his peasant Georgian upbringing and voracious reading habits that drove him always to “better” himself. Categories: Book review: Stalin: Waiting for Hitler 1928-1941 by Stephen Kotkin A landmark biography recasts Stalin not as a madman, but as a leader driven by the remorseless logic of Marxism. All Rights Reserved. Categories: ; Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928, 2014, etc.) RELEASE DATE: Oct. 31, 2017, The massive second volume of the author’s biography of the Russian dictator who went from “learning to be a dictator to becoming impatient with dictatorship and forging a despotism in mass bloodshed.”. The second volume, Stalin: Waiting for … Magazine Subscribers (How to Find Your Reader Number). ‧ Kotkin himself almost despairs of the challenges he faced in narrating the complicated and fractured tale of revolution, civil war and reconstruction. Historian and professor Stephen Kotkin presents his New York Times critically acclaimed biography Stalin: Volume 1: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 at Strand. Stephen Kotkin “The Victory of Socialism in Our Country Is Guaranteed”: Stalin stars in a 1932 poster. The fundamental fact … Even as Stalin gains increasing prominence in both the Bolshevik hierarchy and Kotkin’s narrative, he shares the stage with Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin, Lenin and, above all, Trotsky. © Copyright 2021 Kirkus Media LLC. A Naked Chelsea Handler Wants You To Read Books, Michelle Obama Will Publish “Guided Journal", What New Yorkers Are Reading During Quarantine. Leave a reply. Jennifer Siegel, The New York Times Book Review “A masterly account… Kotkin offers the sweeping context so often missing from all but the best biographies… Stalin is a complex work… but it presents a riveting tale, one written with pace and aplomb. The end result of this risk-taking blurs an otherwise compelling thesis. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. A review of Stephen Kotkin’s Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 By Fred Williams 1 June 2015 In November 2014, Penguin Press released the first volume of a projected three-volume biography, Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928, by Princeton University professor Stephen Kotkin.Many initial reviews have heaped praise on this deeply flawed work. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928,” a masterly account that is the first of a projected three-volume study, Kotkin paints a portrait of an autodidact, an astute thinker, “a people person” with “surpassing organizational abilities; a mammoth appetite for work; a strategic mind and an unscrupulousness that recalled his master teacher, Lenin.”, Kotkin traces the major episodes of Stalin’s life up to 1928: his origins in the imperial borderland of Georgia as Iosif (Soso) Dzhughashvili, the son of an artisan shoemaker cursed by downward mobility, and his beautiful wife, who was always ambitious for her only surviving child; his youth as a decorated schoolboy, then rebellious seminarian; his days as a revolutionary organizer in Batum, Chiatura and Baku, interspersed with years spent in internal exile in northern Russia — what Kotkin designates the fragile cycle of “prison, exile, poverty”; his heady days as a member of Lenin’s inner circle in the aftermath of the revolution that brought the Bolsheviks to power and during the subsequent civil war that, as Trotsky later wrote, molded Stalin; his ascension, at Lenin’s behest, to the position of general secretary of the party, later marred by the disparaging and possibly apocryphal text of Lenin’s so-called testament — a series of dictations in which Lenin, seriously incapacitated by a number of strokes, reputedly discredited six likely successors to his rule, with Stalin prominently included; his establishment of a personal dictatorship over the Bolshevik regime and the excoriation and political or physical exile of his rivals; the first show trials and the movement toward rapid industrialization, including the brutal forced collectivization of agriculture, that Kotkin promises will be the story of Volume II and that he considers to be Stalin’s great historical accomplishment, “rearranging the entire socioeconomic landscape of one-sixth of the earth.”. 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