Top positive review
A sweeping epic of a biography and a true pleasure for the senses
17 December 2015
Young Stalin is a true treat for the senses. Simon Sebag Montefiore has weaved a historical tale that reads at times like a romantic novel, a crime thriller, an historical epic, rather than just simply another study of the Soviet Dictator.
While there are some masterly works out there, as the acclaimed biography by Robert Service, and Oleg Krasniuk’s updated study, making full use of the archives, a reader may ask the question, why bother with Young Stalin?
The account of Stalin’s early life may not be first on the list for a scholar who concerns themselves with moments that shaped the 20th century, but in Young Stalin, the reader is introduced to the harsh world that shaped the Soviet Dictator.
Young Stalin takes the reader back into the lost world of late 19th and early 20th century Georgia, a place of austere religious traditions, coupled with a harsh dog eat dog lifestyle, to his abandoned seminary days, to the key moments that shaped the Red Tsar, when he discovered Marxism and became an agitator supreme.
Stalin lived an extraordinary life, stirring up strikes, sabotaging the oil industry, robbing banks, and operating like a true street criminal, when he wasn’t whisked away into Siberian exile.
The parts of the book concerning Siberian exile are particularly poignant, and are a true delight for the senses.
The latter part of the book offers a highly readable account of the October Revolution, and gives the readers an overview of the fates of the cast of characters.
Young Stalin is a true delight to read. It is a history, but it reads like a novel. Highly recommended, not just to enthusiasts of Russian history, but to anyone who enjoys a good read.