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Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar [Kindle Edition]

Simon Sebag Montefiore
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £9.99
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Book Description

Winner of the British Book Awards History Book of the Year

Longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize

This thrilling biography of Stalin and his entourage during the terrifying decades of his supreme power transforms our understanding of Stalin as Soviet dictator, Marxist leader and Russian tsar.

Based on groundbreaking research, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals in captivating detail the fear and betrayal, privilege and debauchery, family life and murderous cruelty of this secret world. Written with extraordinary narrative verve, this magnificent feat of scholarly research has become a classic of modern history writing. Showing how Stalin's triumphs and crimes were the product of his fanatical Marxism and his gifted but flawed character, this is an intimate portrait of a man as complicated and human as he was brutal and chilling.

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Product Description

Book Description

The thrilling biography of Stalin - an international bestseller

About the Author

Simon Sebag Montefiore is a prizewinning historian whose bestselling 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 at the British Book Awards; YOUNG STALIN won the Costa Biography Prize, LA Times Biography Prize and Le Grand Prix de Biographie; JERUSALEM: THE BIOGRAPHY was a number one bestseller. Montefiore is the also author of the acclaimed novels SASHENKA and ONE NIGHT IN WINTER. He read history at Cambridge University where he received his PhD, and now lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4558 KB
  • Print Length: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; n.e. edition (3 Jun. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004ZDH10A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,140 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Simon Sebag Montefiore's bestselling and prize-winning books are now published in over 45 languages. His new book 'The Romanovs: 1613-1918,' a full history of the 20 tsars of the Romanov dynasty over three hundred years, is out in January 2016.
He has won literary prizes for both fiction and non-fiction. His latest novel, 'One Night in Winter' won the Best Political Novel of the Year Prize and was longlisted for the Orwell Prize. His thriller-love-stories set in Russia -'One Night in Winter' and 'Sashenka' - are both out in paperback.
Amongst his history books: 'Catherine the Great & Potemkin' was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson, Duff Cooper, and Marsh Biography Prizes. 'Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar' won the History Book of the Year Prize at the British Book Awards. 'Young Stalin' won the Costa Biography Award (UK), the LA Times Book Prize for Biography (US), Le Grand Prix de la Biographie Politique (France) and the Kreisky Prize for Political Literature (Austria). 'Jerusalem: The Biography' was a global number one bestseller.
Montefiore read history at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge University where he was awarded his Doctorate of Philosophy. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Visiting Professor at the University of Buckingham, Dr Montefiore is the presenter of four BBC TV series Jerusalem (2011); Rome (2012) and Istanbul/Constantinople - 'Byzantium: a tale of 3 cities' (2013) and now Spain (2015)

To follow the author on twitter: @simonmontefiore. For more information:

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The court of an almost surreal kingdom 22 Nov. 2010
In this long and entertaining book, British author Simon Sebbag Montefiore tells the story of Stalin from the moment that his second wife Nadezhda Alliluyeva committed suicide in 1932 until his death in 1953 (like many historians and many of his closest collaborators, Montefiore believed the death of his wife exacerbated the worst of his personality and turned him from a strong ruler to a brutal dictator, making the great purges possible). In a subsequent book (a prequel of sorts), Young Stalin, he recounted the life of the Soviet dictator from his birth in 1878 until the triumph of the Russian revolution in 1917. Left from these two books is an intermediate period of fifteen years, from 1917 to 1932, in which Stalin rose to power, and wasn't still a complete dictator: even after he became the Soviet nominal leader in 1924 after Lenin died, there was considerable opposition to his policies and he didn't have a completely free hand to govern. He would take care of these opponents (and then more) in 1937.
As Montefiore notes at the beginning, during the Cold War, Soviet top officials were routinely characterized in the western press as being grey, mediocre and dull.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A devastating exposure of the Court of a Madman 1 Jun. 2006
I share many of the comments of previous reviewers. Yes, it is a daunting size, and shorn of maps, photographs and references the narrative is still nearly 600 pages. Yes, it is sometimes difficult to remember who is who among the various magnates. Yes, sometimes the writing style is a little strange. Having said that, it is really worth persevering with. By having made great efforts to obtain first hand evidence, either from the archives, or by interviewing those still alive, Montefiori gives a new perspective on the lives of those in Stalin's closest circle.

The book is not a history of the Soviet Union under Stalin, and the great issues faced by the nation during his reign are not dealt with in detail. That, however, is not the purpose of the book. Much has already been written of the Ukrainian famine, the destruction of the Kulaks, the Terror and Stalin as a war leader. The book concentrates on Stalin's court, a microcosm of the appalling brutality occurring on a wider scale in the nation. In this respect, at least it could be said that the soviet leaders shared the hardships of their subjects, living in constant fear of Stalin's mood swings, which could see them demoted, sent to the Gulag or executed. Nor did it stop with them. The families of the soviet magnates were equally liable to capricious destruction, and even children were imprisoned or killed.

They were able, however, to live in some splendour in the dachas and apartments of the former ruling class. This was true for Stalin, as it was for his underlings, and the book explodes the myth of his ascetic lifestyle.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Adamski
I have read a large number of biographies on political figures by the majority of the best known authors; I comfortably rate Simon Sebag Montefiore at the top of these. He includes plenty of detail and provides for an easier read by dint of not having the vast swathes of academic speak that sometimes bogs down and confuses other accounts. There is a more human feel to the style of writing as this author includes comment, comparison, and some amusing side-stories to his analysis. I have read a number of biographies on Stalin but this could be read as a stand alone account although I would recommend reading 'Young Stalin' first though, which is also by this author.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar 6 Aug. 2013
Historical biographies don't come much better than this one. The author uses a great deal of original material newly released from the archives in Russia as well as his interviews with survivors and relatives. Far from being the "Grey Blur" of legend, Stalin comes across as having used considerable charm, intellect and humour in controlling those around him. His close and loving relationship to his daughter, Svetlana, is thoroughly explored (she was later to defect to the USA and denounce her father). There are fascinating anecdotes on every page, as Stalin comes across as a passionate believer of Marxism-Leninism holding `court' like a medieval monarch. Indeed, Bolshevism was Stalin's religion and the slightest sign of doubt anyone showed in their `belief' was justification for them to be arrested, tortured, killed or sent to Gulags. Nobody was safe including those closest to Stalin. Countless numbers of innocent people and their families perished in `the Great Terror' and this book deals particularly well with the circumstances around this terrible event. The book enables the reader to have a far greater understanding of what made Stalin and his perverse system of government tick. It covers Stalin's leadership in World War II and the aftermath of the war when the dictator became increasingly paranoid and unpredictable. The circumstances of the dictator's death reveal so much about the regime, as his henchmen were too scared to call a doctor for days (Stalin hated doctors, and was in the process of purging them). When doctors finally arrived they were shaking with fear so much they couldn't take a pulse! Although the details are horrific at times, I strongly recommend this book, especially to students of 20th Century history.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good writing
Just a perfect time critical analysis,
Published 3 days ago by Alonso
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What a nasty bxstard
Published 1 month ago by
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
This is an amazing and absorbing account of Stalin's life - I could not put it down! Excellently written and researched.
Published 2 months ago by Stein Claudia Dr
5.0 out of 5 stars Immense and outstanding. Very informative
Absolutely astonishing and shocking read. There is so much revealed about Stalin in this book that it's worth reading again. Young Stalin by the same author is also a great read. Read more
Published 2 months ago by charlie k
5.0 out of 5 stars Bolshie democracy
Stalin did what he did because he could. All politics and all life is here. Utterly brilliant and depressingly compelling.
Published 3 months ago by Eddie
5.0 out of 5 stars Reviewed elsewhere by people better qualified than me
Magnificent. Reviewed elsewhere by people better qualified than me. But those learning Russia for the first time find this a great read and are not put off by its length.
Published 3 months ago by Mme Sosostris
5.0 out of 5 stars I marvel that a man like Stalin was able to hold sway for so long
Compelling - but at the same time horrifying in the light it shows on the darker side of Stalin (did he have a lighter side?) and on Russian history during this period. Read more
Published 4 months ago by A.J.Swirles
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book.
A great read that you will enjoy far more if you read the author's "Young Stalin" beforehand. Both are wonderfully researched books.
Published 5 months ago by Mr Raymond Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite good reading. easy to read on a Kindle
There is more to Stalin that I did not know about , , if it had not been for Jeffrey Archer ,s book Mightier then the Sword I would not have thought of looking up Stalins life . Read more
Published 5 months ago by kevan keefe
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing and very readable.
Incredibly well researched, I couldn't put this book down. The details and scope of this book are quite astonishing. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Globetrotter
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