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Stalin and His Hangmen: An Authoritative Portrait of a Tyrant and Those Who Served Him Paperback – 31 Mar 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (31 Mar. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141003758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141003757
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

'Portraits of successive Soviet enforcers – Dzerzhinsky, Menzhinsky, Iagoda, Ezhov and Beria – which possess a ghastly fascination’ -- Sunday Telegraph

‘A superb and chilling analysis of the Stalinist soul through the characters and barbarities of its hangmen’ -- Daily Telegraph

‘A thorough study of the half a dozen men who made the USSR a hell on earth for three decades’ -- Guardian

Synopsis

Stalin, like Hitler and other tyrants, won and held power because he had collaborators - hangmen. Drawing on newly released archival material, Donald Rayfield gives us a fuller and more colourful picture of Stalin's inner circle than ever before. Stalin was not the sole author of Stalinism. What motivated his chiefs of police, Feliks Dzierzynski, Viacheslav Manzhinsky, Genrikh Iagoda, Nikolai Ezhov and Lavrenti Beria? What did they want? What were their relations with the regime and its ruler? How did their upbringing and experience mould them? And how does the terror they create connect with the terror they felt? Stalin and His Hangmen reconstructs the psychological mechanism of a whole regime and what it held together. The extent of the misery caused by Stalin and his Hangmen can be compared in Europe only to that brought about by Hitler and his henchmen. But Stalin's heritage is, if possible, even worse than Hitler's. His rule enslaved three generations, not one, the horror of what he did has not yet been fully understood and his countrymen have not yet found the strenth to disavow him. All the more important, then, that this diabolical tale should be told.

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