This title isn’t available with your membership

We’re working with the publisher to make it available as soon as possible. If you’d like to read it immediately, you can purchase this title individually.

Request Title
This widely acclaimed biography provides a vivid and riveting account of Stalin and his courtiers—killers, fanatics, women, and children—during the terrifying decades of his supreme power. In a seamless meshing of exhaustive research and narrative ?lan, Simon Sebag Montefiore gives us the everyday details of a monstrous life.We see Stalin playing his deadly game of power and paranoia at debauched dinners at Black Sea villas and in the apartments of the Kremlin. We witness first-hand how the dictator and his magnates carried out the Great Terror and the war against the Nazis, and how their families lived in this secret world of fear, betrayal, murder, and sexual degeneracy. Montefiore gives an unprecedented understanding of Stalin’s dictatorship, and a Stalin as human and complicated as he is brutal.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published: Random House Publishing Group on Dec 18, 2003
ISBN: 9780307427939
List price: $13.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar
Available as a separate purchase
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Clear rating

Case study of absolute power corrupting that raises the interesting side issue of what happens if you destroy civil society and competing social groups-Dictators arise. Democracies need a balance of social forces to work. Or do you need a strong centre when those social forces are too antagonistic?read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What makes this book stand out for me is the detail of day to day life in the centre of power of the Stalinist regime at that time. Yes, at times there are an almost overwhelming amount of names that flow towards the reader, but even if you let many of those flow past you like I did on my first read through, what remains is the sense of intimacy with the characters involved.

Interviews with survivors, children of officials and archival evidence provide a shocking picture of how even the most petty of prejudices and spiteful exchanges could lead to terrible consequences for millions of people. As someone who as a youth read with great interest on the 'great scientific experiment' of the soviet union, I can only hang my head even further in adult shame as a picture of policy unfolds, on many occasions driven by nothing much more than the irrational fears and prejudices of a small incestuous clique, that causes untold carnage.

This can be read as an overview of the era with all the usual events of the time covered and Stalin and his cronies attempts at responses, and this it does admirably and thoroughly, but what really chills me is the sheer pettiness in the decisions made. The way that saving face around a meeting table is more important than saving the lives of whole populations or even preparing for a war with the Third Reich. These people really were the same pig headed fools that exist in any organisation today, but given absolute power and a licence to do whatever is required in the name of the greater good. The sad thing is that you can recognize the characteristics of these people, the self denial, the desire to please in order to gain favour.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A comprehensive book on Stalin's life as reflected in his interaction with people close to him: family, party members, friends and the fate of these people. The author personally interviewed some of their descendants, used recently uncovered/made accessible Soviet archive materials. Lots of references (full list at the back), footnotes, a few photographs. It's the most well-grounded and interesting work on Stalin's court I've read (including a few originals in Russian) in a way how it's written: not a dry research but a vivid journalistic coverage.It shows Stalin not as a black&white person but as a live one with all the contradictions, weaknesses and strengths.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

Case study of absolute power corrupting that raises the interesting side issue of what happens if you destroy civil society and competing social groups-Dictators arise. Democracies need a balance of social forces to work. Or do you need a strong centre when those social forces are too antagonistic?
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What makes this book stand out for me is the detail of day to day life in the centre of power of the Stalinist regime at that time. Yes, at times there are an almost overwhelming amount of names that flow towards the reader, but even if you let many of those flow past you like I did on my first read through, what remains is the sense of intimacy with the characters involved.

Interviews with survivors, children of officials and archival evidence provide a shocking picture of how even the most petty of prejudices and spiteful exchanges could lead to terrible consequences for millions of people. As someone who as a youth read with great interest on the 'great scientific experiment' of the soviet union, I can only hang my head even further in adult shame as a picture of policy unfolds, on many occasions driven by nothing much more than the irrational fears and prejudices of a small incestuous clique, that causes untold carnage.

This can be read as an overview of the era with all the usual events of the time covered and Stalin and his cronies attempts at responses, and this it does admirably and thoroughly, but what really chills me is the sheer pettiness in the decisions made. The way that saving face around a meeting table is more important than saving the lives of whole populations or even preparing for a war with the Third Reich. These people really were the same pig headed fools that exist in any organisation today, but given absolute power and a licence to do whatever is required in the name of the greater good. The sad thing is that you can recognize the characteristics of these people, the self denial, the desire to please in order to gain favour.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A comprehensive book on Stalin's life as reflected in his interaction with people close to him: family, party members, friends and the fate of these people. The author personally interviewed some of their descendants, used recently uncovered/made accessible Soviet archive materials. Lots of references (full list at the back), footnotes, a few photographs. It's the most well-grounded and interesting work on Stalin's court I've read (including a few originals in Russian) in a way how it's written: not a dry research but a vivid journalistic coverage.It shows Stalin not as a black&white person but as a live one with all the contradictions, weaknesses and strengths.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Really excellent account of Stalin's rule told through an account of the rise and (often) fall of those who surrounded him, both politically and domestically. Vividly written, weaving together anecdote and political analysis in a highly readable way. Wears its considerable scholarship and research lightly. All in all an exemplary example of a book about a histroical figure of great importance.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
An excellent introduction to the horrors of Stalin and best of all an explanation of other leaders affected by him. An interesting afterward about what happenedto their families.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
For a while, I was tempted to believe that all people have a little core of good in them. Even Hitler had a few tiny sentimental spots.

Stalin doesn't even have that - he is a beast. A terrifying man, and this biography spares no details about the terrors of life around him. His retainers are also fascinating in their own twisted way. Extremely enlightening(?!) and fascinating book about the nature of modern tyranny.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Load more
scribd