Stalin

Edvard Radzinsky, Author
Edvard Radzinsky, Author Doubleday Books $30 (0p) ISBN 978-0-385-47397-2
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Paperback - 607 pages - 978-0-385-47954-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-553-47403-9
Ebook - 624 pages - 978-0-307-87464-1
Open Ebook - 429 pages - 978-0-307-75468-4
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Russian historian and playwright Radzinsky, whose bestselling The Last Tsar chronicled the assassination of the Romanov royal family, has produced a vivid, astonishingly intimate biography of Joseph Stalin. By drawing heavily on previously unavailable primary-source documents in recently opened party, state and KGB archives, he portrays the Soviet dictator as even more sadistic and methodically demoniacal than Western historians had supposed. Pointing to the young revolutionary's repeated escapes and trips abroad, Radzinsky builds an intriguing circumstantial case that Stalin was a double agent working for both the Bolshevik cause and the czarist secret police. He documents how Lenin recruited Stalin into terrorist violence and used him to tame and crush dissidence within the party ranks. Through interviews with Stalin's granddaughter and with the niece of Nadezhda Alliluyeva, the dictator's wife, Radzinsky pieces together the violent quarrel between Stalin and his wife that led to her suicide weeks before she was to have major surgery. Using oral testimonies, the author deduces that Stalin's murderous anti-Semitic campaign of 1953--whose goal was the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews to Siberia and Kazakhstan--was a prelude to his plan to launch a third world war. Radzinsky also tracked down one of Stalin's bodyguards, Peter Lozgachev, whose testimony that Stalin's guards deliberately denied him medical attention and left him to die adds weight to the author's hypothesis that Stalin was eliminated by close aide Lavrenti Beria (who reportedly boasted, ""I took him out"") as part of a conspiracy to avert nuclear Armageddon. Stalin died in 1953, aged 74 by standard sources, although Radzinsky maintains he was a year older. Photos. 50,000 first printing; major ad/promo; author tour. (Apr.)
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