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Young Stalin


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SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE is a historian of Russia and the Middle East. Catherine the Great and Potemkin was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar won the History Book of the Year Prize at the British Book Awards. Young Stalin won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, the Costa Biography Award, and le Grande Prix de la biographie politique. Jerusalem: The Biography was a worldwide best seller. Montefiore's books are published in more than forty languages. He is the author of the novels Sashenka and One Night in Winter, which won the Paddy Power Political Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2014. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Montefiore graduated from Cambridge University, where he received his PhD. He lives in London.



We know him as Stalin, or Josef Stalin, but before he settled on this alias he had at least a dozen others, including Koba and Soso. His youthful friends were responsible for most of his monikers, which were sometimes taken of necessity to escape from the Okhrana (secret police) and the local police. No book published in the last 100 years goes into as much detail about the youthful Stalin as Montefiore's does. Unlike Sarah Davies and James Harris's Stalin: A New History, which has a 25-page chapter covering Stalin's youth, Montefiore (Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar) uses many newly available archival records from Stalin's peers to greatly amplify information on the man's early years and his growing attachment to the revolutionary movement. Stalin's early experiences shaped his paranoia for the rest of his life, and his revolutionary experiences reinforced it. Montefiore says, "The machine of repression, the flinthearted, paranoid psychology of perpetual conspiracy and the taste for extreme bloody solutions to all challenges were not just accidents, but glamorized and institutionalized. He was patron of these brutal tendencies but also their personification." Montefiore goes on to refute the notion that Stalin was a double agent of the Okhrana and that he "missed the revolution," ideas that his detractors formulated from flimsy evidence. This accessible book is highly recommended for academic and public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/07.]-Harry Willems, Park City P.L., KS Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Brilliantly researched. . . . The portrait of Stalin that emerges from these pages is more complete, more colorful, more chilling, and far more convincing than any we have had before." -The New York Review of Books"Young Stalin is brilliantly readable, as intricately plotted and full of detail as a good novel, scrupulously researched, and full of hitherto unknown (or unreported) facts about Stalin's life." -Men's Vogue"A meticulously researched, authoritative biography. . . . Mr. Montefiore has found the devil in the details, working his way with a fine-tooth comb through previously unread archival material." -The New York Times"The most complete, accurate account of the tyrant's early years-a fascinating tale of life in the revolutionary underground, drenched in violence, fear and deceit, filled with a rogue's gallery of bandits, double-agents and terrorists." -The Seattle Times

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