Stalin, Vol. I

Author: Stephen Kotkin

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0718192982

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 976

View: 2772


The magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world In January 1928 Stalin, the ruler of the largest country in the world, boarded a train bound for Siberia where he would embark upon the greatest gamble of his political life. He was about to begin the largest programme of social reengineering ever attempted: the root-and-branch uprooting and collectivization of agriculture and industry across the entire Soviet Union. Millions would die, and many more would suffer. How did Stalin get to this point? Where did such great, monstrous power come from? The first of three volumes, the product of a decade of scrupulous and intrepid research, this landmark book offers the most convincing portrait and explanation yet of Stalin's power, and of Russian power in the world. The book is as much about the Russia that Stalin inherits and reshapes as about the man himself. It gives a brilliantly nuanced picture of the sequence of catastrophes that disposed of the social structures, armies, rivals and close colleagues that should have stood in Stalin's way, as he emerged from obscurity to shoulder the terrifying responsibility of upholding Russian power in the world.

Stalin

Author: Stephen Kotkin

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0698170105

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 976

View: 6584


A magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world It has the quality of myth: a poor cobbler’s son, a seminarian from an oppressed outer province of the Russian empire, reinvents himself as a top leader in a band of revolutionary zealots. When the band seizes control of the country in the aftermath of total world war, the former seminarian ruthlessly dominates the new regime until he stands as absolute ruler of a vast and terrible state apparatus, with dominion over Eurasia. While still building his power base within the Bolshevik dictatorship, he embarks upon the greatest gamble of his political life and the largest program of social reengineering ever attempted: the collectivization of all agriculture and industry across one sixth of the earth. Millions will die, and many more millions will suffer, but the man will push through to the end against all resistance and doubts. Where did such power come from? In Stalin, Stephen Kotkin offers a biography that, at long last, is equal to this shrewd, sociopathic, charismatic dictator in all his dimensions. The character of Stalin emerges as both astute and blinkered, cynical and true believing, people oriented and vicious, canny enough to see through people but prone to nonsensical beliefs. We see a man inclined to despotism who could be utterly charming, a pragmatic ideologue, a leader who obsessed over slights yet was a precocious geostrategic thinker—unique among Bolsheviks—and yet who made egregious strategic blunders. Through it all, we see Stalin’s unflinching persistence, his sheer force of will—perhaps the ultimate key to understanding his indelible mark on history. Stalin gives an intimate view of the Bolshevik regime’s inner geography of power, bringing to the fore fresh materials from Soviet military intelligence and the secret police. Kotkin rejects the inherited wisdom about Stalin’s psychological makeup, showing us instead how Stalin’s near paranoia was fundamentally political, and closely tracks the Bolshevik revolution’s structural paranoia, the predicament of a Communist regime in an overwhelmingly capitalist world, surrounded and penetrated by enemies. At the same time, Kotkin demonstrates the impossibility of understanding Stalin’s momentous decisions outside of the context of the tragic history of imperial Russia. The product of a decade of intrepid research, Stalin is a landmark achievement, a work that recasts the way we think about the Soviet Union, revolution, dictatorship, the twentieth century, and indeed the art of history itself. Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941 will be published by Penguin Press in October 2017

Stalin

Author: Stephen Kotkin

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 073522448X

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 1184

View: 9258


“Monumental.” —The New York Times Book Review Pulitzer Prize-finalist Stephen Kotkin has written the definitive biography of Joseph Stalin, from collectivization and the Great Terror to the conflict with Hitler's Germany that is the signal event of modern world history In 1929, Joseph Stalin, having already achieved dictatorial power over the vast Soviet Empire, formally ordered the systematic conversion of the world’s largest peasant economy into “socialist modernity,” otherwise known as collectivization, regardless of the cost. What it cost, and what Stalin ruthlessly enacted, transformed the country and its ruler in profound and enduring ways. Building and running a dictatorship, with life and death power over hundreds of millions, made Stalin into the uncanny figure he became. Stephen Kotkin’s Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941 is the story of how a political system forged an unparalleled personality and vice versa. The wholesale collectivization of some 120 million peasants necessitated levels of coercion that were extreme even for Russia, and the resulting mass starvation elicited criticism inside the party even from those Communists committed to the eradication of capitalism. But Stalin did not flinch. By 1934, when the Soviet Union had stabilized and socialism had been implanted in the countryside, praise for his stunning anti-capitalist success came from all quarters. Stalin, however, never forgave and never forgot, with shocking consequences as he strove to consolidate the state with a brand new elite of young strivers like himself. Stalin’s obsessions drove him to execute nearly a million people, including the military leadership, diplomatic and intelligence officials, and innumerable leading lights in culture. While Stalin revived a great power, building a formidable industrialized military, the Soviet Union was effectively alone and surrounded by perceived enemies. The quest for security would bring Soviet Communism to a shocking and improbable pact with Nazi Germany. But that bargain would not unfold as envisioned. The lives of Stalin and Hitler, and the fates of their respective dictatorships, drew ever closer to collision, as the world hung in the balance. Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941 is a history of the world during the build-up to its most fateful hour, from the vantage point of Stalin’s seat of power. It is a landmark achievement in the annals of historical scholarship, and in the art of biography.

Stalin, Vol. II

Author: Stephen Kotkin

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0718192990

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 1184

View: 1954


A SUNDAY TIMES HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 'A brilliant, compelling, propulsively written, magnificent tour de force' Simon Sebag Montefiore, Evening Standard 'The second volume of what will surely rank as one of the greatest historical achievements of our age ... The War and Peace of history: a book you fear you will never finish, but just cannot put down' Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times Well before 1929, Stalin had achieved dictatorial power over the Soviet empire, but now he decided that the largest peasant economy in the world would be transformed into socialist modernity, whatever it took. What it took, and what Stalin managed to force through, transformed the country and its ruler in profound and enduring ways. Rather than a tale of a deformed or paranoid personality creating a political system, this is a story of a political system shaping a personality. Building and running a dictatorship, with power of life or death over hundreds of millions, in conditions of capitalist self-encirclement, made Stalin the person he became. Wholesale collectivization of agriculture, some 120 million peasants, necessitated levels of coercion that were extreme even for Russia, but Stalin did not flinch; the resulting mass starvation and death elicited criticism inside the party even from those Communists committed to the eradication of capitalism. By 1934, when the situation had stabilized and socialism had been built in the countryside too, the internal praise came for his uncanny success in anticapitalist terms. But Stalin never forgot and never forgave, with bloody consequences as he strove to consolidate the state with a brand new elite. Stalin had revived a great power with a formidable industrialized military. But the Soviet Union was effectively alone, with no allies and enemies perceived everywhere. The quest to find security would bring Soviet Communism into an improbable pact with Nazi Germany. But that bargain did not work out as envisioned. The lives of Stalin and Hitler, and the fates of their respective countries, drew ever closer to collision. Stalin: Waiting for Hitler: 1929-1941 is, like its predecessor Stalin: Paradoxes of Power: 1878-1928, nothing less than a history of the world from Stalin's desk. It is also, like its predecessor, a landmark achievement in the annals of the biographer's art. Kotkin's portrait captures the vast structures moving global events, and the intimate details of decision-making.

Stalin

Author: Stephen Kotkin

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1594203806

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 1184

View: 7044


The Pulitzer Prize finalist author of Uncivil Society presents a history of the world during the build-up to World War II from the vantage point of Joseph Stalin's sea of power, exploring how in the aftermath of achieving dictatorial power over the Soviet Empire, Stalin formally ordered the systematic collectivization of the world's largest peasant economy.

Reinterpreting Revolutionary Russia

Author: I. Thatcher

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 0230624928

Category: History

Page: 219

View: 2640


This is a stimulating and highly original collection of essays from a team of internationally renowned experts. The contributors reinterpret key issues and debates, including political, social, cultural and international aspects of the Russian revolution stretching from the late imperial period into the early Soviet state.

Trotsky

Author: Geoffrey Swain

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317868757

Category: History

Page: 248

View: 6073


Without Trotsky there would have been no Bolshevik Revolution, but Trotsky was no Bolshevik. Providing a full account of Trotsky’s role during the Russian Civil War and concentrating on his time as an active participant in Russian revolutionary politics, rather than his ideological writings of emigration, Swain gives the student a very different picture of the Bolshevik Commissar of War. This radically new interpretation of Trotsky’s career spanning 1905-1917 incorporates the tense relationship between Trotsky and Lenin until 1917, and pays particular attention to the Russian Civil War and Trotsky’s military organisation and contribution to the war. Swain argues critically that Trotsky achieved where Lenin would have failed, suggesting that Trotsky was in the main part responsible for the Bolshevik Revolution.

Trotsky and the Russian Revolution

Author: Geoffrey Swain

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317812778

Category: History

Page: 172

View: 812


Supporters of Stalin saw Trotsky as a traitor and renegade. Trotsky’s own supporters saw him as the only true Leninist. In Trotsky and the Russian Revolution, Geoffrey Swain restores Trotsky to his real and central role in the Russian Revolution. In this succinct and comprehensive study, Swain contests that: In the years between 1903 and 1917, it was the ideas of Trotsky, rather than Lenin, which shaped the nascent Bolshevik Party and prepared it for the overthrow of the Tsar. During the autumn of 1917 workers supported Trotsky’s idea of an insurrection carried out by the soviet, rather than Lenin’s demand for a party orchestrated coup d’etat. During the Russian Civil War, Trotsky persuaded a sceptical Lenin that the only way to victory was through the employment of officers trained in the Tsar’s army. As well as examining Trotsky’s critique of Stalin’s Russia in the 1930s, this seminar reader probes deeper to explore the ideas which drove Trotsky forward during his years of influence over Russia’s revolutionary politics, exploring such key concepts as how to construct a revolutionary party, how to stage a successful insurrection, how to fight a revolutionary war, and how to build a socialist state.

Socialism in Russia

Author: J. Gooding

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1403913870

Category: History

Page: 287

View: 1866


This book asks three fundamental questions about the socialist experiment in twentieth-century Russia: How did Marxist ideas come to be implemented in Russia, a country entirely unsuited to them? Why did the experiment lead to such suffering and upheaval and prove so fruitless? And why did the attempt to return to a proper Marxism/Leninism bring about the rapid collapse of the experiment. In its answers, this book pays special attention to the shadow cast by Lenin throughout the entire Soviet era.

World Revolution, 1917–1936

Author: C. L. R. James

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822373343

Category: History

Page: 544

View: 4321


Originally published in 1937, C. L. R. James's World Revolution is a pioneering Marxist analysis of the history of revolutions during the interwar period and of the fundamental conflict between Trotsky and Stalin. James, who was a leading Trotskyist activist in Britain, outlines Russia's transition from Communist revolution to a Stalinist totalitarian state bureaucracy. He also provides an account of the ideological contestations within the Communist International while examining its influence on the development of the Soviet Union and its changing role in revolutions in Spain, China, Germany, and Central Europe. Published to commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, this definitive edition of World Revolution features a new introduction by Christian Høgsbjerg and includes rare archival material, selected contemporary reviews, and extracts from James's 1939 interview with Trotsky.