cover image Stalin: 2russia's Man of Steel

Stalin: 2russia's Man of Steel

Albert Marrin. Viking Children's Books, $14.95 (256pp) ISBN 978-0-670-82102-0

Stalin, Marrin writes, was ``among the two or three worst men who ever lived.'' The numbers bear this outStalin was directly or indirectly responsible for 14 million deaths in the famine of the 1930s, 12 million deaths in the gulag and 20 million deaths in World War II (an ``unnecessarily high'' price for victory). This biography of Stalin is gripping, however, because of its complexity and boldness as well as its horrors. The author of numerous books for young adults, Marrin explains the rise of Bolshevism, describes the tenets of socialist thought and shows Stalin's role in the creation of a totalitarian state. Stalin himselfhis battered youth, his incapacity for expressing gratitudeis vividly presented. This is an agile history of a complicated subject, a breakthrough for readers not yet ready for the tomes on adult shelves. Bibliography; index and photos not seen by PW. Ages 12-up. (Oct . )