BND 25.90

In this acclaimed biography, Robert Service brings us closer than ever to an understanding of one of the most notorious figures in world history. Drawing on unpublished material from the Moscow archives, personal testimonies and private papers, this book illuminates the man as well as the dictator, placing him truly in the frame of his politics, party and revolution. With unprecedented detail, Service describes Stalin's formative influences - his alcoholic father and devout mother, his Georgian origins, his religious training and his embrace of revolutionary Marxism - and shows how they shaped his later life as a Bolshevik militant, rising party chief and ruthless despot. More importantly, Service ties together Stalin's political intellect, his voracious reading and surprising fondness for composing poetry with his penchant for glory, revenge and mass murder. Accounts of Stalin have been mythologized and distorted, but Robert Service's painstaking research and thirty-year engagement with his subject has allowed him to write a magisterial, shocking and utterly compelling biography of this most extraordinary figure.

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