NYT lauds newest biography of Stalin. It's by Stephen Kotkin.Historians in the News
tags: Stalin, USSR, Lenin, Trotsky
Two contrasting pictures emerge from the appraisals of Joseph Stalin written by his revolutionary colleagues and competitors. On the one hand, there was, for example, a fellow Georgian who knew Stalin in his early years as a Bolshevik organizer and who describes “his unquestionably greater energy, indefatigable capacity for hard work, unconquerable lust for power and above all his enormous particularistic organizational talent.” On the other, there are the unflattering judgments of his most virulent opponents in the Bolshevik hierarchy, from Leon Trotsky, who thought Stalin the “outstanding mediocrity of our party,” to Lev Kamanev, who considered the man who came to preside over the vast expanses of the reconstituted Russian empire “a small-town politician.”
For Stephen Kotkin, the John P. Birkelund professor in history and international affairs at Princeton University, it is clearly the first assessment that comes closer to the truth. In “Stalin. Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928,” a masterly account that is the first of a projected three-volume study, Kotkin paints a portrait of an autodidact, an astute thinker, “a people person” with “surpassing organizational abilities; a mammoth appetite for work; a strategic mind and an unscrupulousness that recalled his master teacher, Lenin.”...
comments powered by Disqus
- U.S. Planned for Military Occupation of Cuba
- New picture emerges of Mata Hari, who faced firing squad 100 years ago
- Massive section of Western Wall and Roman theater uncovered after 1,700 years
- Fight over national monuments intensifies
- Martin Luther: Reluctant reformer who rocked Christianity 500 years ago
- Historian Keri Leigh Merritt defends activist scholars
- Historian digs into the hidden world of Mormon finances
- A historian who became a business professor?
- Allan Lichtman's response to critics of his book that makes the case for Trump’s impeachment
- "Do We Have To Fight Nazis Again?” asks historian Paul Ortiz