Stalin's Curse

Stalin's Curse : Battling for Communism in War and Cold War

3.89 (153 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Second World War almost destroyed Stalin's Soviet Union. But victory over Nazi Germany provided the dictator with his great opportunity: to expand Soviet power way beyond the borders of the Soviet state.

Well before the shooting stopped in 1945, the Soviet leader methodically set about the unprecedented task of creating a Red Empire that would soon stretch into the heart of Europe and Asia, displaying a supreme realism and ruthlessness that Machiavelli would surely have envied. By the time of his death in 1953, his new imperium was firmly in place, defining the contours of a Cold War world that was seemingly permanent and indestructible - and would last until the collapse of the Berlin Wall in

But what were Stalin's motives in this spectacular power grab? Was he no more than a latter-day Russian tsar, for whom Communist ideology was little more than a smoke-screen? Or was he simply a psychopathic killer? In Stalin's Curse, best-selling historian Robert Gellately firmly rejects both these simplifications of the man and his motives.

Using a wealth of previously unavailable documentation, Gellately shows instead how Stalin's crimes are more accurately understood as the deeds of a ruthless and life-long Leninist revolutionary. Far from being a latter day 'Red Tsar' intent simply upon imperial expansion for its own sake, Stalin was in fact deeply inspired by the rhetoric of the Russian revolution and what Lenin had accomplished during the Great War. As Gellately convincingly shows, Stalin remained throughout these years
steadfastly committed to a 'boundless faith' in Communism - and saw the Second World War as his chance to take up once again the old revolutionary mission to carry the Red Flag to the world.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 496 pages
  • 158 x 233 x 27mm | 746g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 16pp black and white plates
  • 0199668051
  • 9780199668052
  • 1,461,181

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Table of contents

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Review Text

"an impressive piece of scholarship ... This paperback edition is to be welcomed" Evan Mawdsley, BBC History
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Review quote

an impressive piece of scholarship ... This paperback edition is to be welcomed * Evan Mawdsley, BBC History *
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About Robert Gellately

Robert Gellately is Earl Ray Beck Professor of History at Florida State University. His publications have been translated into over twenty languages and include the widely acclaimed Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: the Age of Social Catastrophe (2007), Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945 (2001), and The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy, 1933-1945 (1990), the last two also published by Oxford
University Press. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.
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Rating details

153 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 23% (35)
4 50% (77)
3 22% (33)
2 4% (6)
1 1% (2)
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