Stalin: And the Shaping of the Soviet Union

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9780688047306: Stalin: And the Shaping of the Soviet Union

Book by De Jonge, Alex

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From Publishers Weekly:

De Jonge's tenets are facile and arguable: that Stalin maintained his rule by exploiting his country's centuries-old lines of force and did so with the nation's complicity; that Stalinism, viewed here as a variant on the "managerial principle of hire and fire," was likewise accomplished with the concurrence of the subjugated. Author of The Life and Times of Grigori Rasputin and Fire and Water (about Peter the Great), de Jonge is a knowledgeable Russian historian whose political bias intrudes on a potentially substantial work. When he conjectures about the culpability of a crime, he's likely to determine, "It is scarcely conceivable that Stalin should not have done so, in view of what we know of his character"; about Lenin's death: "It would appeal to Stalin's sense of humor to inaugurate a monumental cult to celebrate a man whom he had murdered." If the show trials wereas de Jonge has itspectacles that gave the people what they wanted, one might conclude from a reading of this study that that particular terrorism ceased only because there wasn't audience enough left to applaud.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

De Jonge has written a provocative biography of this major figure of Soviet history. He has drawn heavily upon emigre accounts and diplomatic reports; all the same his study is not free of superficialities. He sharply criticizes Stalin's rivals and his World War II allies, and he hides nothing of Stalin's savagery. Yet de Jonge's conclusions, sure to be challenged, are also clear: Russia could never have become a superpower without coercion (the national work ethic being what it is), and, in exercising that coercion, Stalin enjoyed support from every level of Soviet society. This biography will not replace Adam Ulam's Stalin: the man and his era (1973), but it is a useful, clear-eyed introduction for the general reader. R.H. Johnston, History Dept., McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ontario
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Alex De Jonge
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De Jonge, Alex
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