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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... biographies on political figures by the majority of the best known authors
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...
Published 2 months ago by Adamski

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3.0 out of 5 stars A great opportunity lost through lack of talent.
If you are not entirely familiar with the period, do not expect this book to add greatly to your knowledge. Deliberately or through incompetence the author so concentrates on Stalin and his immediate circle that no picture or feel for the period and the country that was the Soviet Union is created. Since the fall of the old Soviet Union the Author has been given access...
Published 13 days ago by Chris D


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... biographies on political figures by the majority of the best known authors, 4 Sep 2014
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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3.0 out of 5 stars A great opportunity lost through lack of talent., 10 Nov 2014
If you are not entirely familiar with the period, do not expect this book to add greatly to your knowledge. Deliberately or through incompetence the author so concentrates on Stalin and his immediate circle that no picture or feel for the period and the country that was the Soviet Union is created. Since the fall of the old Soviet Union the Author has been given access to much information , previously unseen, however, he is unable to create a functioning in depth view of the time and place in which to set this intelligence. As such you would be forgiven for thinking that during the Stalininst period (most of the period of Communist rule) very little happened within the country of note, apart from the `Terror` by Stalin and his henchmen. This includes the Second World War which appears almost by accident and is concluded in haste, with such major events as the Katyn massacre being two short sentences. This could heve been a great book, however, it seems Mr Montifiore, is just not up to the task and we are left with a picture of a psychotic murdering monster, operating in a dimly lit country where events are more imagined than seen. Not recommended at all, but, if you must borrow it from the library.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent discussion on a fascinating topic, 25 Oct 2014
Montefiore's work can effectively be viewed as an almost direct sequel to his earlier piece on Stalin's youth and rise to power, in that it deals with Stalin at the height of his power until his death in the 50s; however, it also introduces biographical analysis of those members of Stalin's inner circle and their own careers. In general, the work is superb; Montefiore has a knack for picking the most interesting details and quotations, and the level of research he has done into the topic is admirable by the breadth of his sources. In addition, his writing style is brisk and engaging (which it needs to be, given the weight of the tome and the amount of material covered) and the book is well presented. If this reviewer had one criticism, it might be that the scope of the material either needed to be tightened for the sake of pacing and focus, or widened and dealt with in more than one volume to better accommodate and address the sheer weight of work, but nevertheless, this remains an excellent example of superbly written popular history focusing on Stalin's personality and that of members of his court.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revealing unspeakable truths of history, 26 April 2014
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Mrs. Imogen M. Skirving "Imogen Skirving" (LANGAR NR NOTTINGHAM UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (Kindle Edition)
This is an unbelievable, shocking, amazing book. I could not put it down. Sebag Montefiore's years of research is a great benefit to history and I am not reading 'one night in history' which I recommend as a follow up to The Court of the Ted Tsar.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A GOOD READ. WELL WORTH IT, 18 Nov 2014
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A. Ross (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (Kindle Edition)
Very good book. Well researched and written. Personally I would have like a bit more to be given about after his death, but then it would not really be a biography on Stalin would it?
My biggest gripe is that on the kindle book, the extensive footnotes reference section at the end of the book gives a false indication of where you are in the book. You think you are only 75% through it ... but actually at the ending.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great for understanding the way Stalin ran a nation., 19 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (Kindle Edition)
Great to explain how evil Stalin was and how he twisted everyone around him to be mass murderers without a care in the world. Laugh about a tomato in someones coat pocket, kill the entire family because they saw Stalin cry at his wifes funeral. Scary book to think this happened just 90 years ago.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 14 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (Kindle Edition)
This is an absolutely brilliant and compulsive read. I could not put it down for long and was sorry when I had finished it.
The story is told clearly and I feel very much better informed about the incredible power and evil this man wielded at his whim.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Best History/Biography book I've read, 3 Oct 2013
This review is from: Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (Kindle Edition)
Wow! Just could not put down the book. The brutality of this man and his people were just unbelievable. I only just read WWII book where I learnt a little about Stalin and his reign of terror which lead me to this book. It is very well researched with lots of details which could get a bit tedious sometimes but once I got into it and have identified the main characters, it became a page-turner as you try to find out how each member of his brutal court got caught up in the system and perished. In my opinion, this guy was worse than Hitler. No one was sacred even close family members!
Well done, Mr Montefiore.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a page turner!, 28 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (Kindle Edition)
Great detail throughout and very easy to get lost in, grim through out this book really brings home the terrifying and breath taking scope of the crimes of Stalin and his regime. The role of the whole Soviet leadership is set out, the parallels with the Nazi regime and the ever present brutality are at times astonishing. A great read, very well written - I'm pretty disappointed I've finished it, always a good sign!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 25 Aug 2013
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Mr. C. Hirst (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (Kindle Edition)
Stalin thought more about power and politics than about humanity (like all totalitarian dictators). A fascinating read...I thoroughly recommend it!
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Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar
Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore
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