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Young Stalin [Hardcover]

Simon Sebag Montefiore
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
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Review

a gripping read.....the book provides a wealth of serious and scurrilous detail, creating a memorable portrait of one of the 20th century's greatest monsters. (Antony Beevor THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

an outstanding book..... a triumph of research and storytelling. (Victor Sebestyen THE EVENING STANDARD)

'The story Montefiore has told requires the psychological penetration and social omniscience of a great novelist. Dickens once or twice peeps over the biographer's shoulder (Peter Conrad THE OBSERVER)

it is hard to imagine how this account can be improved on. Moreover, the narrative flows with insight and humour: YOUNG STALIN is a prequel that outshines even the COURT OF THE RED TSAR. (Donald Rayfield LITERARY REVIEW)

This picture of Stalin as a young poet is one of the revelations of Simon Sebag Montefiore's macabrely fascinating Young Stalin (Antonia Fraser THE MAIL ON SUNDAY)

Simon Sebag Montefiore's thrilling portrait of Stalin's youth. (Michael Burleigh THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

'on one level, this book does the important work of helping one understand exactly how the phenomena of Stalin and Stalinism came into existence: on another it¿s also a very good story, very well told¿ (Paul Fishmann WATERSTONE'S BOOK QUARTERLY)

The aim of any book is to inform, entertain, and be readable, and this book does so admirably, and frequently with a sense of humour. (Jennie Erdal THE SCOTSMAN)

What Montefiore gives us is a richly and fluently documented study of the chief terrorist in the making. (Robert Service THE SUNDAY TIMES)

This meticulous volume. (Gavin Bowd SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY)

this magnificent 'prequel (Jonathan Mirsky THE SPECTATOR)

Montefiore's wonderfully readable book (Hugh Barnes THE NEW STATESMAN)

'In showing the boy brigand, he illuminates, uniquely, the elements - diverse and contradictory as they are - that fathered the man-monster; one who, even as he ruled absolutely and exercised, liberally, the power of life and death, probably always felt the outcasst about whom he wrote a moving poem.' (Nicholas Fortune THE HERALD)

On practically every page of Young Stalin, there is a reason to smile with satisfaction at the thrust of revelation and often a reason to gasp or even chuckle. The overall impression is of Carlylean energy with the prose torrenting along. (Montefiore) dazzles. As quasi-academic populist biography goes, this is as good as it gets (Christopher Silvester THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

The author cannot be faulted for industry. With help from Russians and Georgians, he has dug up a pile of new information¿. An attractive book¿ what a complex monster. (THE ECONOMIST)

Important and fascinating (Sebastian Shakespeare TATLER)

Following his extraordinary 2004 Stalin biog, the brilliant Montefiore tackles the dictator's youth in Young Stalin (GQ)

an engrossing popular history.. while magnificently entertaining, it reveals the complexity of historical conditions that forge revolutions and their leader.' (Carol Rumens THE INDEPENDENT)

Magnificent! A masterpiece of detail. Montefiore has unearthed documents long lost in Georgian archives, found the descendants of Soso's friends and produced a vivid psychological portrait of this dangerous, alluring, enigmatic man who like Macacity could vanish from the scenes of the outrages he masterminded. This book moves with pace and authority. (Michael Binyon THE TIMES)

A rare treat. A book that commands and deserves our attention. It also succeeds triumphantly in cleaning away much of the grime from the portrait of a man who is no longer an icon of our movement. It is a book of exceptional scholarship ...... written in a gripping and elegant style that combines a novelist¿s flair ¿ with a level of reasoned sustained and unsensational argument that is often demanded of, but seldom realised by, top flight academic historians. (Dr John Callow THE MORNING STAR)

Montefiore's brilliantly researched and readable portrait¿ gives us Stalin with a Mauser in his belt, Stalin the rabblerouser, bankrobber and Marxist conspirator, Stalin the tireless scholar. The picture that emerges is more colourful, more chilling and above all more credible¿ ¿ Anyone who wants to understand the shaping of one of history¿s bloodiest dictators must read this original and thought-provoking book (Catherine Merridale THE GUARDIAN)

The intellectual¿s beach read this summer, a groundbreaking work of thrilling energy and scholastic thoroughness that has turned up a wealth of new material on the early sexual, political and criminal career of Josef Stalin. (Elizabeth Grice THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

A thrilling account not just of the man but the highly-charged history from which he emerged. Montefiore brings his own superbly novelistic flair to this prequel to his bestselling Stalin biography. (Clare Alfree METRO)

A gripping but dark Boy¿s Own adventure, packed with bombs, violence and treachery. Full of fascinating nuggets (THE FINANCIAL TIMES)

Stalin's story is told with great verve and freshness by Mr Montefiore. It provides real insight into this poisonous personality and will be hard for any other author to surpass (Simon Heffer COUNTRY LIFE)

'this excellent book.' (Roger Lewis THE DAILY EXPRESS)

'Montefiore has found an extraordinary amount of new material that gives human colour to his narrative and he writes with unusual zest. (Paul Anderson TRIBUNE)

a fascinating book and an absorbing read that throws real light on the formation of a dictator. (Carla King THE IRISH TIMES)

A mass of contradictions he (Stalin) is brought to life in this superb biography. (Martin McCauley HISTORY TODAY)

A portrait that defies the clichéd image of the megalomaniacal Georgian peasant (DAILY TELEGRAPH (audiobook review))

Doggedly researched and compelling biography of the poet and ladies man who became a monster. (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

Exuberant study of a monster in the making. (THE SUNDAY TIMES)

Full of the most amazing new information about the early years of the monster. (THE EVENING STANDARD)

[This] substantial book shines a stark light into the murky underworld of Stalin's revoluntary apprenticeship.' (THE GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

Vital prequel to the internationally best-selling biography STALIN: COURT OF THE RED TSAR

About the Author

Simon Sebag Montefiore was born in 1965 and read history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he received his Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD). His books have been published in over forty languages. Catherine the Great and Potemkin was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar won the History Book of the Year Prize, British Book Awards. Young Stalin won the Costa Biography Award (UK), the LA Times Book Prize for Biography (USA), Le Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique (France) and the Kreisky Prize for Political Literature (Austria). Jerusalem: The Biography won the Jewish Book of the Year Prize (USA). He is also the author of two novels, Sashenka and One Night in Winter. Dr Montefiore's next major history book will be The Romanovs: Rise and Fall, 1613-1917. He presented BBC TV series on Jerusalem and Rome. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Visiting Professor at Buckingham University, he lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children.
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