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8 Reviews
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
The comparison between Hitler and Stalin is comprehensive and it is fascinating to see the similarities. The author looks at both dictators from various angles, and his background knowledge of the time is impressive. It is worrying to read the economic climate and other situations of the time when the two dictators were created as one could relate it to the present time...
Published on 7 Jan. 2013 by keikochan

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10 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Limited, not bad though
Alright now, where should I start.
I must express my general opinion first. After I will justify my opinion. I think Overy is wrong. However, when I challenge his opinion, I challenge the opinion of the general stream of western history writing, so it's risky. I'm doing it anyway.

So, I'll kick this off by stating - at the risk of sounding extreme - that I...
Published on 13 Sept. 2009 by Kaarle Wasama


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, 7 Jan. 2013
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The comparison between Hitler and Stalin is comprehensive and it is fascinating to see the similarities. The author looks at both dictators from various angles, and his background knowledge of the time is impressive. It is worrying to read the economic climate and other situations of the time when the two dictators were created as one could relate it to the present time. Despite rather heavy subject, it is easy to read as it is written very clearly, and suitable for everyone. I highly recommend it!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dictators: Hitler's Germany & Stalin's Russia, 12 Jun. 2011
Excellent in all respects. Quite the best coverage in detail of both Hitler and Stalin, and with excellent comparisons between the two dictators and the two regimes. Very full and comprehensible on the economic and social aspects of the regimes, penetrating on the crimes of both but without allowing this to unbalance the narative, which remains analytical and comparatively dispassionate throughout. This work would be excellent for sixth-formers as well as university students (and indeed everyone else interested in this subject) but sixth-formers would probably benefit from some guidance, given the length of the work and the quantity of detail it contains. The index in this respect is very useful and they would be advised to begin with particular subject areas that they are interested in. At all times some guidance from the teacher would be useful. General readers too will find it absorbing and not a particularly demanding read despite its length. This is one of the best books available on the area of modern history by one of the very best historians alive today.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully clear and manageable, 30 Aug. 2013
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Mr. Timothy Woffenden (Sevenoaks, Kent) - See all my reviews
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I have been researching Stalin's Russia for some time now, and have often been bewildered by the lengthy, ultra-dense nature of the literature on a subject who has inspired little consensus and much debate. I fought shy of consulting Overy for some time, as it seemd not to be the work of a soviet specialist, as Overy is better known for his many works on Nazism. How wrong I was. This is thoroughly researched and mercifully clear. I brought home to me the true nature of Stalin's dictatorship, synthesising a huge range of research, while giving the author's own interpretation, which abounded with common sense. I find it difficult to agree with Overy that the terror was not a featire of everyday like for most Russians, though. Having just read Goldman's excellent book on Moscow factories, I am persuaded that almost everyone must have been touched by it. For the most part, though, Overy is lucid and, in my opinion, right. On Nazism he is a true master. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone setting out on a study of Stalinism, and it is one of the few works that I could put in front of a sixth former.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mass of factual material with freeflowing presentation., 26 April 2014
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A scholarly well written work. Both Dictators did diabolical things. The western allies shared the one that did so much to keep us on the winning side. No consolation for his victims.
Kenneth Manvell
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overy, 17 Mar. 2013
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I love this book, blueprint for totalitarism and its leaders in the past and future, and relation to state and people
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 19 Mar. 2009
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A. Garrod "amy124" (Ipswich, England) - See all my reviews
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I'm doing my A2 History coursework at the moment, which is comparing Hitler and Stalin, and this book has been a god- send.

It's entirely comparative and it's contents is clear, with each Chapter having a particular focus so that it is easy to dip in & out of.

For anyone studying History, this book is great, and for anyone not studying the subject, it could be a little dry to read in one go, but is easy and clear to understand.
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10 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Limited, not bad though, 13 Sept. 2009
By 
Kaarle Wasama "Wasama Jr." (Finland) - See all my reviews
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Alright now, where should I start.
I must express my general opinion first. After I will justify my opinion. I think Overy is wrong. However, when I challenge his opinion, I challenge the opinion of the general stream of western history writing, so it's risky. I'm doing it anyway.

So, I'll kick this off by stating - at the risk of sounding extreme - that I believe the old generation of history writing is trying to push Britain's naive actions (appeasement) regarding to Hitler onto everyone of his contemporaries. In this book, on Stalin. It looks to me like an attempt to justify the "gutlessness" of those times by generalizing it and simply drawing Hitler out of it, as if he was extremely different from other dictators, other leaders.
I am no Hitler fanatic, simply interested in the man in a historical point of view. And the more I read, the more I'm beginning to think he wasn't so awful as portrayed by us Europeans. His actions were so little different from those of Stalin, for example. Are we judging Hitler on partially false charges?

Overy has choosen his general line, which is that Hitler wanted war and Stalin only wanted to defend his country, and sticks to it without second thoughts. In fact, this is where I think the value of this book is diminished: on page 443 of this book Overy says that Stalin was o n l y being defensive and reactive. He mentions the possibility of Stalin's possibly aggressive plans in the 30s and the 40s and discards it the next sentence, stating simply that "the balance of evidence favors my idea". As if it couldn't be true that Stalin wanted communism in Europe.

Overy seems to ignore very important facts and very important evidence when drawing his conclusions. He for example fails to mention the aggressive nature of the armament produced by the soviets. Honestly, no man in his right sense would suggest that Stalin wanted to Defend his country with weapons unsuitable for defensive warfare, unusable in the USSR! I think Overy is being too one-sided, leaving out some major facts. This limits his views. And this was just one example.
I also think Overy uses quotes and other citations where they are not relevant (you know this if you know the context). For example, when he cites a speech held by Stalin in 1925, where Stalin pronounces that "the USSR shall have to participate in WWII but it shall only do it last to throw the decisive weight onto the scales, the weight that shall turn the scales." This does sound offensive. Overy however, only chose to mention the part where Stalin says that the USSR shall act last. This doesn't sound offensive as in the original speech, but rather cautious, hereby supporting Overy's thesis.

Of course the book has its value. If you are a high school student holding a speech on Stalin or Hitler, you'll be sure to get full marks by simply quoting this book. The thesis supported by Overy is what the academic Europeans hold in value. I w o u l d be critical however.
There is more to it than what this book tells you.
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3 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I was going to buy this but......, 5 Nov. 2010
This review is from: The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia (Kindle Edition)
I had just read Russia's War by the same author, and had this in my wish list, but now due to price fixing by the publisher this book is nearly twice the price of the paperback!

Due to price fixing by the publisher I am unable to buy and read this book in the format of my choice. I am not asking for the book for free or to be sold at a stupidly low price - just a fair price. I would very much like to read this book; however until the publishers stop fixing the price I WILL NOT buy this book (or another price fixed book) in any format. To the Author - this is not personal; please take a stance as this is damaging sales.
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