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Stalin's War


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About the Author

Sean McMeekin is Professor of History at Bard College, New York. For some years he taught at Bilkent University, Ankara. His books include the highly successful The Berlin-Baghdad Express (Penguin), The Russian Origins of the First World War and The Ottoman Endgame (Penguin).


Gripping, authoritative, accessible and always bracingly revisionist. -- Simon Sebag Montefiore
McMeekin's approach in Stalin's War is both original and refreshing and the book is written with a wonderful clarity. -- Antony Beevor
Impressive, well researched and very well written ... McMeekin invites the reader to look at the history of the war from a vantage point rarely taken and appreciate the many tragedies and sad ironies of the grand alliance as it took shape and functioned during the war ... A new look at the conflict, which poses new questions and provides new and often unexpected answers to the old ones. -- Serhii Plokhy * The Guardian *
A terrific read ... McMeekin is a superb writer. There isn't a boring page in the book. His breadth of approach, taking in events from Manchuria to Greece, as well as the main fronts, is refreshing ... When he is angry McMeekin can be magnificent. -- David Aaronovitch * The Times *
An accomplished, fearless and enthusiastic "Myth-buster", McMeekin hunts out the mistaken explanations of the past ... The story of the war itself is well told and impressive in its scope, ranging as it does from the domestic politics of small states such as Yugoslavia and Finland to the global context ... McMeekin is right that we have for too long cast the second world war as the good one. His book will make us re-evaluate the war and its consequences. -- Margaret MacMillan * Financial Times *
A sweeping reassessment of World War II seeking to "illuminate critical matters long obscured by the obsessively German-centric literature" on the subject ... Yet another winner for McMeekin ... Brilliantly contrarian history. * Kirkus *
McMeekin draws from recently opened Soviet archives to shed light on Stalin's dark reasoning and shady tactics ... Packed with incisive character sketches and illuminating analyses of military and diplomatic maneuvers, this is a skillful and persuasive reframing of the causes, developments, and repercussions of WWII. * Publishers Weekly *
This book is a mammoth achievement in every sense. -- Michael Brendan Dougherty, author of My Father Left Me Ireland
Sean McMeekin's new book fills a massive gap in the historiography of World War II. Based on exhaustive researches in Russian and other archives, his examination of Stalin's foreign policy explores fresh avenues and explodes many myths, perhaps most significant being that of unwittingly exaggerated emphasis on 'Hitler's war'. He shows conclusively that the two tyrants were equally responsible, both for the outbreak of war and the appalling slaughter which ensued. -- Nikolai Tolstoy
Stalin's War is above all about strategy: the failure of Roosevelt and Churchill to make shrewd choices as World War II played out. McMeekin brilliantly argues that instead of weighting the European and Pacific theatres to favour their own interests - and weaken the inevitably antagonistic Soviet Union - FDR and Churchill left the most critical parts of Asia unguarded while they ground down the German army, a decision that favoured Stalin's interests far more than their own. -- Geoffrey Wawro

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