Well this was quite the read, this was one that was on the reading list for a long time. Finally I got round to reading this voluminous book about one of the most controversial figures in history. Stalin.
The book is focused on the time when Stalin was at the height of his power, so it’s not a full account of his life. It’s a bloody one for sure.
It tells a lot about all the people around him , his family and allies who by no exception all fell victim to the infamous terror, with the help of the people in his entourage who he gave a lot of power.
That power led to a lot of murders , even Stalin’s own family. What surprised me was the numbers of people who were killed and the damage it did not only to all the victims but to the country as well. When Hitler started operation Barbarossa the Red Army almost had no officers with any experience , they were all murdered.
To make matters worse a lot of very bad mistakes were made by the Politburo before the red army generals got a bit of authority back. By then off course Hitler overreached as well and the tide started to shift.
He controlled everyone around him by instilling the fear in people that by making just one slight mistake you could become an enemy of Stalin. The way he did this and kept control over such a large empire with no opposition is remarkable. It feels like he planned and orchestrated everything from start to finish.
It’s a bit of a hard read sometimes with all the different people but after a few chapters you’ll find it gets easier. A very solid book on Stalin. For people who like to read biography’s and are interested in Stalin or that part of history.