4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Stalin the Wonder Boy - With One Mighty Bound He Was Free!,
This review is from: Young Stalin (Paperback)
If you fancy a good adventure story, written at a galloping pace, then this is for you. If you fancy a serious biography, then it is not.
The chapter headings will give you an idea of what to expect e.g. "Louse Racing, Murder and Madness - Prison Games", "Two Lost Fiancées and a Pregnant Peasant" etc.
Young Stalin is presented as a daring gangster, running crime in the Caucasus, organizing and taking part in bank robberies, hijacking ships, ordering murders, a master of disguise, constantly escaping the Inspector Clouseau-like cops hounding him.
How about this: "Once when police surprised a meeting there, he hid within the wide skirts of a female comrade. At another gathering, surrounded by Cossacks, Stalin pulled on a dress and escaped in drag."
Even when he is captured and sent into exile, Stain manages to escape almost immediately but not before seducing every girl and woman in sight and leaving a trail of illegitimate children.
The author claims to have uncovered "new" material. Maybe he has but the value is questionable. What about this: "On the way to Tomsk, somewhere near Vologda, Stalin encountered Boris Nikolaevsky, the Mensheviks' Baku investigator. Soso (i.e. Stalin) gave nothing away but borrowed Nikolaevsky's treasured blue tea mug, which he then pinched." The Epilogue in which the writer rounds off the lives of many of those mentioned is also a waste of space.
Finally, can I put on record my distaste for the self-indulgent "Acknowledgements" we readers have to put up with nowadays? This writer not only makes gushy references to his family, friends and colleagues but even thanks his personal "trainer" whose website he mentions.