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Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (Paperback)
  • Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (Paperback)

Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (Paperback)

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Paperback 752 Pages / Published: 10/07/2014
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Winner of the British Book Awards History Book of the Year
Longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize

This thrilling biography of Stalin and his entourage during the terrifying decades of his supreme power transforms our understanding of Stalin as Soviet dictator, Marxist leader and Russian tsar. Based on groundbreaking research, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals in captivating detail the fear and betrayal, privilege and debauchery, family life and murderous cruelty of this secret world. Written with extraordinary narrative verve, this magnificent feat of scholarly research has become a classic of modern history writing. Showing how Stalin's triumphs and crimes were the product of his fanatical Marxism and his gifted but flawed character, this is an intimate portrait of a man as complicated and human as he was brutal and chilling.

Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
ISBN: 9781780228358
Number of pages: 752
Weight: 604 g
Dimensions: 198 x 133 x 44 mm

One of the two outstanding books of the year ... the most civilised and elegant chronicle of brutality and ruthlessness I have ever read, its prose cool and clear but never indifferent -- Ruth Rendell * Daily Telegraph *
Horrific, revelatory and sobering ... triumph of research and should be required reading in Russia. Book of the Year -- John Le Carre * Observer *
This grim masterpiece, shot through with lashes of black humour ... The personal details are riveting -- Antonia Fraser * Mail on Sunday *
Fascinating ... [Montefiore] concentrates, as any good historian should, on pushing forward the boundaries of our knowledge of the subject ... [He] provides rich detail of daily life and family relationships in a world of human values turned inside out ... scrupulously fair in the way he describes Stalin's qualities - including his ability to charm, his uncanny grasp of geopolitical issues, his brilliant handling of foreign statesmen and his genuine passion for literature -- Antony Beevor * Sunday Times *
Masterful and terrifying account of Stalin ... seldom has the picture been put in finer focus than by Sebag Montefiore. It is partly through his diligent interviews with the children of survivors and his admirable combination of history and gossip that one sees the awful banality, the brutal crudity of the men who carelessly sent so many millions to their senseless deaths -- Alistair Horne * The Times *
This magnificent portrait ... Montefiore has mined the rich veins of recent Russian writing on the Stalin age and of newly opened archives to give us an intimate history ... The stifling, contiguous life of the Soviet elite in and around the Kremlin is wonderfully conveyed, in some of the most striking and literary passages in the book ... A wonderfully rich and vibrant portrait of the Stalinist elite who lived in the shadow of a remarkable and dangerous colossus -- Richard Overy * Literary Review *
Read it or face social Siberia ... a cross-over success. Academically and intellectually rigorous, it's also a riveting read ... it takes a great writer to make it seem fresh. And Sebag Montefiore certainly does that ... his greatest achievement has been to "humanise" Stalin. Uncle Joe was a mass murderer and a paranoid sociopath. But he was also charming, friendly and flirtatious -- 100 Best Things in the World Right Now * GQ Magazine *
Grimly brilliant -- Andrew Marr * Daily Telegraph *
Excellent ... This book is like a vast Russian novel full of characters, colour, terror, passion and treachery ... love affairs, marriages, divorces, imprisonments and killings -- Susannah Tarbush * Al-Hayat *
Montefiore has managed to get inside the mind of the 20th century's worst mass murderer. What he has found there will affect your view of human nature ... a thoughtful book of first-class scholarship as well as a transfixing narrative ... vividly recreated by Montefiore's caustically witty prose -- Andrew Roberts * Daily Telegraph *
Its extraordinary revelation of the evil - the complete amorality - at the heart of the dictator's court will change the way historians approach the great historical questions about the Stalinist regime -- Orlando Figes * Sunday Telegraph *
Montefiore drives his story forward with breathless enthusiasm ... in a work of great importance. Scholars will read it for the valuable new evidence it assembles. Others will enjoy it as a fascinating page-turner and an everyday saga of extraordinary Kremlin folk -- Rodric Braithwaite * Financial Times *
Gripping and timely ... [Montefiore] had the bright idea of examining the letters, telegrams and diaries of [Stalin's] intimate associates. As a result, this is a book based on extraordinary primary research ... one of the few recent books on Stalinism that will be read in years to come. The devil is in the detail -- Robert Service * Guardian *
An extraordinary book... he has managed to persuade a whole generation of little old ladies and elderly men - the wives, granddaughters, servants, nieces and nephews of Stalin's henchmen - to give him a series of extraordinary interviews and, in some cases, lend him their hand-written memoirs... For anyone fascinated by the nature of evil - and by the effects of absolute power on human relationships - this book will provide new insights on every page -- Anne Applebaum * Evening Standard *
Montefiore's STALIN, I should imagine, will be the standard work on this twentieth-century monster for years to come -- Jeremy Paxman * Sunday Telegraph *
The most revealing account of the inner circles of tyranny since Albert Speer's inside story of Hitler's bunker. Book of the Year -- Norman Lebrecht * Evening Standard *
Enlivened by sharp pen portraits and grisly anecdotes, Montefiore's study ... was admired for its elegant prose as well as its grotesque cavalcade of monsters -- Books of the Year * The Week *
Brings alive that many-sided monster ... the first book that has given me grounds for thinking it might be possible to understand how Stalin got away with his enormities -- David Pryce-Jones * Spectator *
Montefiore's masterful study of Stalin and his entourage provides the best personal portrait to date of the man and his group -- Daniel Beer * Jewish Chronicle *
Enormously readable and even grimly amusing ... the details of the cruelty and depravity ... are incredible -- Miriam Gross * Sunday Telegraph *
I'm currently reading Simon Sebag-Montefiore's excellent biography of the Soviet monster [Stalin] 'the Court of the Red Czar' which I heartily recommend -- Matthew Gwyther * MANAGEMENT TODAY *

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This is an astonishing book. It clearly links Stalin to all the horrors that the Russians were subjected to after Lenin's death. He is portrayed as an evil and self serving narcissist who would stop at nothing to... More

Paperback edition
18th June 2007
Helpful? Upvote 38


An enjoyable book that you do not want to put down. With over 700 pages it was well constructed and easy to refer to other events.

The little ditty about Beria having played left back for Georgia was well worth the... More

Paperback edition
5th March 2011
Helpful? Upvote 27

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