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Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Stalin remains one of the creators of our world - like Hitler, the personification of evil. Yet Stalin hid his past and remains mysterious. This enthralling biography that reads like a thriller finally unveils the secret but extraordinary journey of the Georgian cobbler's son who became the Red Tsar. What forms such a merciless psychopath and consummate politician? Was he illegitimate? Did he owe everything to his mother - was she whore or saint? Was he a Tsarist agent or Lenin's chief gangster? Was he to blame for his wife's premature death? If he really missed the 1917 Revolution, how did he emerge so powerful?
Born in poverty, exceptional in his studies, this charismatic but dangerous boy was hailed as a romantic poet, trained as a priest, but found his mission as fanatical revolutionary. The secret world of Joseph Conrad-style terrorism was Stalin's natural habitat, where he charmed his future courtiers, made the enemies he later liquidated, and abandoned his many mistresses and children. The mastermind of bank-robberies, protection-rackets, extortion, arson, piracy and murder was, uniquely, part-intellectual, part-brigand. Montefiore shows how the murderous paranoia and gangsterism of the criminal underworld, combined with pitiless ideology, taught Stalin how to triumph in the Kremlin - and create the USSR in his flawed image.
Based on astonishing new evidence, YOUNG STALIN is a history of the Russian Revolution, a pre-history of the USSR - and a fascinatingly intimate biography: this is how Stalin became Stalin.
About the Author
Simon Sebag Montefiore is a historian and writer. His books are international bestsellers, published in 27 languages. CATHERINE THE GREAT AND POTEMKIN (originally POTEMKIN: PRINCE OF PRINCES) was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson, Duff Cooper, and Marsh Biography Prizes. STALIN: THE COURT OF THE RED TSAR won the History Book of the Year Prize at the 2004 British Book Awards. YOUNG STALIN (published May 2007) is its companion and prequel. Born in 1965, Montefiore read History at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, novelist, and television presenter, he lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children. He is now writing JERUSALEM: THE BIOGRAPHY, a fresh history of the Middle East.
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