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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Note on Suspect Wikipedia Entry, 28 April 2010
yep09 (West Midlands, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stalin (Hardcover)
This is a good single-volume life of Stalin comparable with the other English-language lives I have read (Volgokanov, Conquest, Service , Montefiore); and compliments to the translator on his elegant prose.

I am taking the trouble to write this note as I would not wish potential readers to be deterred by the Wikipedia entry for the author which contains: "David Brandenberger points out that this book "is essentially a compilation of fact, opinion and gossip already in circulation for decades", and that this book is far inferior to the books of other authors e.g. O. V. Khlevnyuk, Lars Lih, Stephen Kotkin, and Robert W. Thurston."

This looks a bit like "spin"! If Radzinsky were an American professional historian rather than a Russian celebrity, "opinion" might appear as "analysis" and "gossip" as "eye-witness records". And as for "already in circulation for decades", Radzinsky had, as his title implies, access to a quantity of newly available archive materials (as well as family history and personally-conducted interviews) and makes cogent use of them. This is a general biography of Stalin and as such I don't see how it could be comparable ("far inferior") to works by historians who, though respected, have never, so far as I can ascertain, produced general biographies of Stalin.

In a week when one famous English historian has admitted to anonymously rubbishing the work of others via Amazon reviews, I realise that my own note must be suspect. By all means suspect it - but suspect Wikipedia and its sources too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Book! I Read It From Cover To Cover! I Couldn't Put It Down!, 18 July 2009
This review is from: Stalin (Hardcover)
The first in-depth biography based on Explosive New Documents from Russian's Secret Archives this book has got to be one of the most interesting books covering key factors about Stalin but leaving out a funny secret, that he suffered from bad wind problems (yes this is real , far from a joke) people had to act normal when Stalin stank the room out and in one case a man questioned him on this and he was sentenced to death for trying to ring this fact to the matter of the general public.

One of my favourite books by Edvard Radzinsky.

Contents Of Book
List Of Illustrations Page: 7

Preface Page: 9

Prologue : The Name Page: 3

Introduction : An Enigmatic Story Page: 9

One: SOSO: His Life And Death

The Little Angle Page: 17

Childhood Riddles Page: 29

The End Of Soso Page: 41


Enigmatic Koba Page: 47

The New Koba Page: 85

A Grand Master's Games Page: 91

The Great Utopia Page: 119

The Crisis Manager Page: 137

The Birth Of Stalin Page: 173


Stalin: His Life, And His Death

The October Leaders Meet Their End: Lenin Page: 191

The End Of the October Leaders Page: 205

The Country At Breaking Point Page: 225

The Dreadful Year Page: 265

The Congress Of Victors Page: 297

The Bloodbath Begins Page: 310

"The People Of My Wrath" Destroyed Page: 327

The Fall of "The Party's Favorite" Page: 347

Creation of a New Country Page: 373

Night Life Page: 379

Tending Terror's Scared Flame Page: 401

Toward The Great Dream Page: 411

Two Leaders Page: 425

The First Days Of War Page: 445

Interlude: A Family inn Wartime Page: 473

Onward to Victory Page: 479

The Leader's Plan Page: 493

The Return of Fear Page: 501

The Apocalypse That Never Was Page: 521

The Last Secret Page: 549

Afterword Page: 565

Bibliography Page: 567

Index Page 577
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The life of Joseph, Koba and Stalin, 4 April 2005
Mia (Helsinki, Finland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stalin (Hardcover)
Edvard Radzinsky's Stalin is a fascinating historical work about Stalin's (i.e. of Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili's) life. It covers all the necessary details from his birth to his death. The writer often emphasizes his sources and the book is based on various sources from different USSR's archives.
For me the book provided a lot of useful, as well as useless, information about Stalin and the general atmosphere in USSR during his reign. Despite it's thickness the book is easily readable probably owing the writer's background as a playwright. Sadly enough this is the exact feature that makes the book a less reliable historical source. The writer comments on Stalin's mood and personality and sometimes draws conclusion's from unreliable sources. The writer also represents his own theories which he cannot back up, which are then noted in the book truthlike facts. However, the inaccuracies are rare and everyone is given the opportunity to draw their own conclusions.
I would strongly recommend this book for anyone interested in Stalin. For the main parts it is very accurate and interesting and no one should refrain from reading it for it provides interesting insight into Stalin's life.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Customer's opinion, 26 Dec 2000
This review is from: Stalin (Hardcover)
The book would be very interesting for everybody who is interested(or begins to get interested) in the history of the Russian Revolution and the personality of Stalin in particular. The author has used a lot of rare documents, memoirs etc. and the result was the fascinating atmosphere and horror of the October Revolution, the Civil War, the Reaction, the beginning of the USSR. The characteristics of the historical personalities of that time are sometimes really brilliant. It's a pity that the author doesn't manage to write a "serious" historical work. He is too pathetical, too fixed on his own opinions and impressions rather than on the critical historical analysis. The book is worth reading because of the atmosphere of the events, after it you'll be surely eager to learn more about that time.
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Stalin by Edvard Radzinsky (Hardcover - 4 April 1996)
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