Portrait of Stalin

Tomorrow New York Times Book Review carries a review by Richard Pipes of a new book on Stalin by Simon Segag Montefiore. The review is “‘Stalin’: Up close and personal.” Pipes writes that the book is unique in the voluminous historical literature on Stalin:

[I]t pays minimal attention to Stalin’s politics and concentrates on the man and his immediate associates. This was made possible by the author’s access to previously secret private documents, including Stalin’s notes and messages, as well as by interviews with the surviving offspring of his closest companions. In addition, Montefiore has made an exhaustive study of the published literature. The result is the first intimate portrait of a man who had more lives on his conscience than Hitler and yet, according to opinion polls, is regarded by Russians even today as a giant, the fourth greatest human being in world history.

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