Stalin, and the Shaping of the Soviet Union

Alex De Jonge, Author William Morrow & Company $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-04730-6
De Jonge's tenets are facile and arguable: that Stalin maintained his rule by exploiting his country's centuries-old lines of force and did so with the nation's complicity; that Stalinism, viewed here as a variant on the ""managerial principle of hire and fire,'' was likewise accomplished with the concurrence of the subjugated. Author of The Life and Times of Grigori Rasputin and Fire and Water (about Peter the Great), de Jonge is a knowledgeable Russian historian whose political bias intrudes on a potentially substantial work. When he conjectures about the culpability of a crime, he's likely to determine, ``It is scarcely conceivable that Stalin should not have done so, in view of what we know of his character''; about Lenin's death: ``It would appeal to Stalin's sense of humor to inaugurate a monumental cult to celebrate a man whom he had murdered.'' If the show trials wereas de Jonge has itspectacles that gave the people what they wanted, one might conclude from a reading of this study that that particular terrorism ceased only because there wasn't audience enough left to applaud.(March 18)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1986
Release date: 02/01/1986
Paperback - 542 pages - 978-0-688-07291-9
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