Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

Paperback

By (author) Simon Sebag Montefiore

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 785 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 201mm x 43mm | 635g
  • Publication date: 13 September 2005
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 1400076781
  • ISBN 13: 9781400076789
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: 2 MAPS/32 PP. B&W PHOTOS
  • Sales rank: 151,579

Product description

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.

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Author information

Simon Sebag Montefiore is a historian of Russia. Potemkin: Catherine the Great's Imperial Partner was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson, Duff Cooper and Marsh Biography prizes in Britain. Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar was awarded the History Book of the Year Prize at the 2004 British Book Awards. Young Stalin""won the "Los Angeles Times" Book Prize for Biography, the Costa Biography Prize (UK) and the Kreisky Prize for Political Literature (Austria). His books are world bestsellers, published now in 35 languages. He is the author of a new novel, Sashenka. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Montefiore lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children. For more details, visit: www.simonsebagmontefiore.com

Review quote

" Terrific. . . . Scholarship as a kind of savage gossip. . . . Deeply researched, wonderfully readable." - "Time" " The first intimate portrait of a man who had more lives on his conscience than Hitler. . . . Disturbing and perplexing." - Richard Pipes, "The New York Times Book Review" " Superb. . . . No Western writer has got as close. . . . A dark and excellent book." - "The New York Review of Books" " A harrowing portrait of life in the dictator' s inner circle. . . . [Stalin] emerges from this book as a contradictory, creepily flesh-and-blood human being." - "The New York Times" " Unprecedented in its intimacy and horrifying in its implications, not merely because it shows that the engineers of one of history' s greatest holocausts were depraved . . . but also because they emerge in these pages as surprisingly normal." - "The Washington Post Book World"

Flap copy

Fifty years after his death, Stalin remains a figure of powerful and dark fascination. The almost unfathomable scale of his crimes-as many as 20 million Soviets died in his purges and infamous Gulag-has given him the lasting distinction as a personification of evil in the twentieth century. But though the facts of Stalin's reign are well known, this remarkable biography reveals a Stalin we have never seen before as it illuminates the vast foundation-human, psychological and physical-that supported and encouraged him, the men and women who did his bidding, lived in fear of him and, more often than not, were betrayed by him. In a seamless meshing of exhaustive research, brilliant synthesis and narrative elan, Simon Sebag Montefiore chronicles the life and lives of Stalin's court from the time of his acclamation as "leader" in 1929, five years after Lenin's death, until his own death in 1953 at the age of seventy-three. Through the lens of personality-Stalin's as well as those of his most notorious henchmen, Molotov, Beria and Yezhov among them-the author sheds new light on the oligarchy that attempted to create a new world by exterminating the old. He gives us the details of their quotidian and monstrous lives: Stalin's favorites in music, movies, literature (Hemmingway, "The Forsyte Saga and "The Last of the Mohicans were at the top of his list), food and history (he took Ivan the Terrible as his role model and swore by Lenin's dictum, "A revolution without firing squads is meaningless"). We see him among his courtiers, his informal but deadly game of power played out at dinners and parties at Black Sea villas and in the apartments of the Kremlin. We see the debauchery, paranoia andcravenness that ruled the lives of Stalin's inner court, and we see how the dictator played them one against the other in order to hone the awful efficiency of his killing machine. With stunning attention to detail, Montefiore documents the crimes, small and large, of all the members of Stalin's court. And he traces the intricate and shifting web of their relationships as the relative warmth of Stalin's rule in the early 1930s gives way to the Great Terror of the late 1930s, the upheaval of World War II (there has never been as acute an account of Stalin's meeting at Yalta with Churchill and Roosevelt) and the horrific postwar years when he terrorized his closest associates as unrelentingly as he did the rest of his country. "Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar gives an unprecedented understanding of Stalin's dictatorship, and, as well, a Stalin as human and complicated as he is brutal. It is a galvanizing portrait: razor-sharp, sensitive and unforgiving. "From the Hardcover edition.