RT Book, Whole DB /z-wcorg/ DS http://worldcat.org ID 57001809 LA English T1 Stalin : a biography A1 Service, Robert,, PB Belknap Press of Harvard University Press PP Cambridge, Mass. YR 2005 SN 0674016971 9780674016972 AB "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."--Jacket.