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The Political Thought of Joseph Stalin: A Study in Twentieth Century Revolutionary Patriotism: A Study in 20th Century Revolutionary Patriotism Paperback – 6 Apr 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Reissue edition (6 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415406269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415406260
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,038,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"[T]his book serves as a good introduction to newcomers and an engaging companion to the great body of work that has gone before, weaving often scrappy and difficult to interpret evidence into a coherent narrative that highlights some of the many personalities that comprised Vindolanda's "band of brothers.""-"Slavic Review, vol 63, no. 1, Amy Zoll, Spring 2004 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Erik van Ree is a lecturer at the Institute for East European Studies of the University of Amsterdam. He has published widely on the history of the USSR and on world communism, including books on Stalin's Korean Policy, and on the Soviet Politburo.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Shires on 25 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A most perculiar read. Over and over again he states his hostility to Stalin and then systematicaly and in great detail goes on to justify, support and qualify Stalin's decisions and judgement.Stalin emerges very strongly indeed from this analysis by clearly an objective and critical commentator. Definitely worth recommending.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on 3 Mar. 2004
Format: Hardcover
This remarkable book studies the development of Stalin’s thought, using the evidence of his private library, the books he studied and noted. These were overwhelmingly Marxist in origin; none were by orthodox or conservative Russian thinkers. Stalin used only Marxist sources, especially Marx and Lenin, and never referred to writers in the old Russian, Tsarist, autocratic tradition. The book shows how Stalin’s thoughts and deeds were rooted in the revolutionary ideas of Marxism.
Stalin was a genuine and convinced Marxist, a moderniser, a Westerniser, who promoted huge advances in education, health and welfare. He accelerated industrialisation and collectivised agriculture, just as Marx and Engels had advocated. He used state centralisation, democratic centralism, to defeat feudal fragmentation and backwardness, as Marx and Engels had recommended to the Paris Commune of 1871. They supported the Commune as a dictatorship of the proletariat, not a parliamentary but a working body, executive and legislative at the same time. Stalin too always denounced the social democratic idea of a ‘peaceful transition to socialism’ through ‘bourgeois parliamentarism’.
The Soviet revolution did destroy the old landowning and capitalist classes by collectivising agriculture and taking ownership of the country’s industry. In response, those dying classes sharpened their struggle against emerging socialism in the 1930s, as Lenin had warned that they would, and they sought support both in the Party and from the enemy states surrounding the Soviet Union.
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Amazon.com: 2 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Pioneering study of Stalin's political thought 5 Nov. 2006
By Andreas Umland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Erik van Ree's profound book will, surely, become a standard reference in Soviet studies not only because it is the first narrowly focused and truly comprehensive treatment of Stalinist political thought as such. It is also an exceptionally dense and well-structured investigation that, moreover, attempts to situate Stalinism within the wider context of radical nationalist tendencies in European nineteenth- and twentieth-century left-wing thought. In fact, van Ree starts his study with a chapter on Jacobinism which, in his interpretation, gives birth to a peculiar, distinct strand within the radical left that reached its apex in Stalinism. Van Ree's main argument is that the sources of Stalinist nationalism are to be found not only or not so much in various pre-revolutionary societal and governmental russophile ideas and policies, ranging from Slavophilism to Black Hundredism. Instead, Stalinism was part and parcel of a development that had taken and was taking place relatively autonomously within the European left-wing movement, including its Russian section. While van Ree thus agrees with those interpretations that see the nationalist (or patriotic) element within Stalinism as a core feature of Stalin's outlook, he refuses to locate Stalinism within the conventionally nationalist Russian tradition. Van Ree, in particular, shows that, although Stalin was well-read, he had not much interest in non-leftist political thought and had only scant knowledge of the ideas of the pre-revolutionary Russian right.

Van Ree's study will not only be appreciated by researchers. It also provides a very good text-book for advanced under-graduate and post-graduate seminars. It provides a useful alternative to the numerous biographies of Stalin that, while often making interesting reading, mix freely historical, psychological, economic, political, etc. analysis. Van Ree's study, instead, focuses on what Stalin said and wrote, and addresses, in a systematic and straight-forward manner, scholarly debates on the various contradictions in Stalinist rhetoric ("socialism in one country," nationalism vs. internationalism, the withering away vs. strengthening of the state, pro-Nazi and anti-fascist tendencies, etc.). The book will, therefore, be appreciated by Russian history teachers as an excellent complementary text for the period of 1917-1953, by political theorists as a unique addition to the scholarly literature on Bolshevism, and by East European area studies specialists as a good addition to further reading lists on the nature of politics in the former Soviet bloc. It is to be hoped, therefore, that the study will be soon reprinted as a paper-back in order to be affordable for students.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Excellent study of Stalin's Marxism 3 Mar. 2004
By William Podmore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This remarkable book studies the development of Stalin's thought, using the evidence of his private library, the books he studied and noted. These were overwhelmingly Marxist in origin; none were by orthodox or conservative Russian thinkers. Stalin used only Marxist sources, especially Marx and Lenin, and never referred to writers in the old Russian, Tsarist, autocratic tradition. The book shows how Stalin's thoughts and deeds were rooted in the revolutionary ideas of Marxism.
Stalin was a genuine and convinced Marxist, a moderniser, a Westerniser, who promoted huge advances in education, health and welfare. He accelerated industrialisation and collectivised agriculture, just as Marx and Engels had advocated. He used state centralisation, democratic centralism, to defeat feudal fragmentation and backwardness, as Marx and Engels had recommended to the Paris Commune of 1871. They supported the Commune as a dictatorship of the proletariat, not a parliamentary but a working body, executive and legislative at the same time. Stalin too always denounced the social democratic idea of a `peaceful transition to socialism' through `bourgeois parliamentarism'.
The Soviet revolution did destroy the old landowning and capitalist classes by collectivising agriculture and taking ownership of the country's industry. In response, those dying classes sharpened their struggle against emerging socialism in the 1930s, as Lenin had warned that they would, and they sought support both in the Party and from the enemy states surrounding the Soviet Union.
The idea of socialism in one country stems from the Communist Manifesto, which said that the working class of each country `must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie', and also from Lenin. Ever since August 1915, Lenin defended the principle of socialism in one country, asserting that capitalism's uneven development enabled the Russian working class to start to build socialism. By 1923, he was saying that the Soviet Union could create a `complete socialist society'.
The book's last two chapters both focus on Stalin's idea of revolutionary patriotism, directly descended from the Jacobins of the French Revolution. Stalin defended workers' nationalism, the concept that each nation's working class had to uphold the nation's democracy, its honour and its sovereignty.
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