The authors of this book, written during the dying days of the Communist dictatorship in the then Soviet Union, travelled the width and breadth of Russia, visiting places such as the gulags of the Arctic Circles, and conducted dozens of interviews leading to their contribution to the study of the monstrous tyrant Joseph Stalin, and the phenomenon of Stalinism.
The authors trace the life and career of Stalin, under whose rule over 30 million people were murdered (NOT including those who died during World War II by his communist apparatus over which he controlled with a tight fist.
But the ruthless terror of Stalin must be understood against the backdrop of his predecessor Lenin's construction apparatus of state terror in the Soviet Union following the bloody Revolution and civil war
It was no accident that Stalin came tom power in the system of Marxist-Leninist tyranny put in place in the Soviet Union,.
I believe that Stalin merely carried on an extended the evil work of institutionalized inhumanity and mass murder that Lenin and the Bolsheviks had put firmly in place.
The only two fundamental differences being Stalin's more imperial, personalized form of rule, and the fact that Stalin extended the terror in the Communist Party itself, liquidating a large portion of the party, and almost the entire old party leadership. Lenin waged terror only on victims outside of the Communist Party.
It was Lenin who wrong the neck of Russia's newborn democracy in 1917, and made clear that the Bolsheviks would tolerate no form of parliament or political opposition. This despite the fact that the Communists had received less than a quarter of the vote in the Constituent Assembly which was forcibly dissolved by the Bolsheviks at gunpoint.
It was Lenin's instructions that spelt out the importance of terror under all Marxist-Leninist regimes and movements: "Under the guise of greens (militia) we shall go forward for 10 to 20 versts and hang kulaks, priests and landowners. Bounty: 100 roubles for every man hanged"
"Famine when we can beat the enemy (the Church) over the head...right now when people are being eaten in famine stricken areas we can carry out the expropriation of church valuables with the most furious and ruthless energy that they will not forget it for decades".
Both Lenin and Stalin saw the extermination of the peasantry of the Soviet Empire as a vital necessity, as they saw the peasants as an obstacle to putting in plan their vision of Marxist-Leninist social engineering.
The war against the peasants, the so-called 'dekulakization', moved up to horrific proportions of mass murder under Stalin, and more than 7 million people died. The myth of grain hoarding by peasants was an obvious lie. Children died in their millions due to the fact that the peasants had no grain, while others were mowed down by Communist guns.
It was under Lenin's mantra that "those who do not work shall not eat" that the prescription for food rationing was carried out in Stalin's labour camps in which millions died. Approximately 100 000 people died building the Belamor Canal alone, one of Stalin's ambitious construction projects.
The authors cover the agreements signed between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia and explore the similarities between the Soviet Union under Stalin and Nazi Germany.
Until Hitler's surprise attack attack on the Soviet Union in June, 1941, Stalin saw Hitler as an ally.
Communist Parties around the world opposed the allied war effort and railed against what they described as an 'imperialist war' until the 1941 attack by the Nazis on the Soviet Union forced Stalin into the Allied camp.
The book traces the blunders committed by Stalin during the war against Nazi Germany, and Stalin's sanctioning of mass murder and mass rape, after World War II, as the merciless Red Army swept across East and Central Europe.
The authors cover the massive genocide under Stalin against ethnic minorities. Entire nationalities were and their national republics expunged from the map. These included the Volga Germans, Ingush, Chechens and other Caucasian minorities as well as the Crimean Tatars. It included the brutal purges of the Baltic States and the Ukraine, which Stalin said he would destroy completely were it not too large to do so.
The book then go's on to study Stalin's last years, the new wave at terror he had planned just before his death and the strange circumstances behind his death, followed by the power struggles within the Communist Party.
The final chapter describes Stalin's legacy, which continues up to this day in revolutionary dictatorships and Communist parties around the world