Cover: Stalin: A Biography, from Harvard University PressCover: Stalin in PAPERBACK

Stalin

A Biography

Product Details

PAPERBACK

Print on Demand

$34.00 • £29.95 • €30.95

ISBN 9780674022584

Publication Date: 10/31/2006

Academic Trade

736 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

47 halftones

Belknap Press

World rights except United Kingdom, Commonwealth & Europe

Add to Cart

Educators: Request an Exam Copy (Learn more)

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

Overthrowing the conventional image of Stalin as an uneducated political administrator inexplicably transformed into a pathological killer, Robert Service reveals a more complex and fascinating story behind this notorious twentieth-century figure. Drawing on unexplored archives and personal testimonies gathered from across Russia and Georgia, this is the first full-scale biography of the Soviet dictator in twenty years.

Service describes in unprecedented detail the first half of Stalin’s life—his childhood in Georgia as the son of a violent, drunkard father and a devoted mother; his education and religious training; and his political activity as a young revolutionary. No mere messenger for Lenin, Stalin was a prominent activist long before the Russian Revolution. Equally compelling is the depiction of Stalin as Soviet leader. Service recasts the image of Stalin as unimpeded despot; his control was not limitless. And his conviction that enemies surrounded him was not entirely unfounded.

Stalin was not just a vengeful dictator but also a man fascinated by ideas and a voracious reader of Marxist doctrine and Russian and Georgian literature as well as an internationalist committed to seeing Russia assume a powerful role on the world stage. In examining the multidimensional legacy of Stalin, Service helps explain why later would-be reformers—such as Khrushchev and Gorbachev—found the Stalinist legacy surprisingly hard to dislodge.

Rather than diminishing the horrors of Stalinism, this is an account all the more disturbing for presenting a believable human portrait. Service’s lifetime engagement with Soviet Russia has resulted in the most comprehensive and compelling portrayal of Stalin to date.

Awards & Accolades

  • 2006 Independent Publisher Book Award, Biography Category
  • A Washington Post Book World “Best Books of the Year” Selection, 2005

Share This

A Greeting of the Spirit: Selected Poetry of John Keats with Commentaries, by Susan J. Wolfson, from Harvard University Press

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

A stack of five bestselling titles from Harvard University Press against a hot pink textured background

Ringing in the New Year with HUP’s 2022 Bestsellers

There is no better way for readers to usher in the new year than by looking back to the books that defined the last. For Harvard University Press, our 2022 bestsellers make up a diverse list of books across time and discipline.