Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva

Rosemary Sullivan. Harper, $35 (752p) ISBN 978-0-06-220610-7
Svetlana Alliluyeva (1926–2011), Stalin’s only daughter, lived an almost impossible life at the edges of 20th-century history. Poet and biographer Sullivan (Villa Air-Bel) masterfully employs interviews, Alliluyeva’s own letters, and the contents of CIA, KGB, and Soviet archives to stitch together a coherent narrative of her fractured life. Its first act—Sullivan depicts her lonely existence as the motherless “princess in the Kremlin”—is remarkable enough, but as Alliluyeva slowly came to understand the extent of her father’s cruelty, she began to resent the U.S.S.R. and her role in its mythology, abandoning her two children and defecting to America in 1967. In her startling second life, Alliluyeva made a fortune by publishing her memoir, only to lose it through a disastrous marriage orchestrated by Frank Lloyd Wright’s widow. Alliluyeva also formed and dissolved countless friendships as she moved nomadically around America and England, even briefly returning to the U.S.S.R., before settling in Wisconsin to live out the rest of her days in anonymity. Readers shouldn’t expect insight into Stalin’s psyche—he was just as mysterious and mercurial to his family as he is to historians—but Sullivan takes them on a head-spinning journey as Alliluyeva attempts to escape her father’s shadow without ever fully comprehending the man who cast it. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/06/2015
Release date: 06/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 624 pages - 978-0-06-220614-5
Ebook - 768 pages - 978-1-4434-1444-9
Hardcover - 741 pages - 978-0-00-749111-7
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-241759-6
Paperback - 624 pages - 978-0-06-220612-1
Hardcover - 768 pages - 978-1-4434-1442-5
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-0296-9
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