Josef Stalin remains one of the greatest enigmas of modern history. Unflinching, impenetrable, inhuman in his cruelty, bathed in misery himself, to many he represents a very paradigm of evil - perhaps, in his icy rationalism, even more so than Hitler himself. More than a hundred biographies of Stalin have been written since his death in 1953, but The Unknown Stalin is the first detailed study of the torrent of new material unleashed with the opening of the secret Soviet archives when the Union collapsed. In some cases, long held assumptions are questioned and revised: detailed study of the days before and after the outbreak of war with Germany make it clear that Stalin had a better idea of Hitler's intentions than is often supposed. In others, rumours are put to rest: in a chapter that reads like a detective story, the authors finally disprove the widely held-belief that Stalin was murdered by his colleagues. The truths sucked out of these long secret archives provides a radically fresh insight into the life and career of one of the major figures of our twentieth century. The Unknown Stalin represents one of the most important contributions to the study of Stalin in decades, and will be of vital interest to scholars and lay readers alike. 'I found this book very difficult to put down. It is extraordinarily vivid and revealing. Given its breadth and perceptiveness, it deserves to be a resounding success. Its elucidation of some of the most important mysteries of the Stalin period makes this an invaluable contribution to identifying 'the unknown Stalin'. - John Erickson, FBA, Professor of Defence Studies, University of Edinburgh. "e;In this important and intriguing volume, the indefatigable Medvedev brothers have detailed a series of key episodes in Joseph Stalin's later career. Drawing in part on newly available sources, they probe some of the critical instances of Stalin's malevolent will, including the Soviet nuclear program, his interventions in Soviet science, and his cat-and-mouse game with the ill-fated Nikolai Bukharin, not to mention the contentious circumstances of Stalin's death in 1953. They graphically evoke the unparalleled depth of sycophancy and fear that Stalin engendered and exploited. This book is a must resource for researchers and students of the Soviet historical experience."e; Robert V. Daniels, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Vermont.
Unknown Stalin, The