Stalin: Waiting for Hitler 1929-1941

Stalin Waiting for Hitler Pulitzer Prize finalist Stephen Kotkin continues his definitive biography of Stalin from collectivization and the Great Terror through to the coming of the conflict with Hitler s Germany that is the

  • Title: Stalin: Waiting for Hitler 1929-1941
  • Author: Stephen Kotkin
  • ISBN: 9781594203800
  • Page: 440
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pulitzer Prize finalist Stephen Kotkin continues his definitive biography of Stalin, from collectivization and the Great Terror through to the coming of the conflict with Hitler s Germany that is the signal event of modern world history.When we left Stalin at the end of Stalin Paradoxes of Power 1878 1928, it was 1928, and he had finally climbed the mountaintop and achiePulitzer Prize finalist Stephen Kotkin continues his definitive biography of Stalin, from collectivization and the Great Terror through to the coming of the conflict with Hitler s Germany that is the signal event of modern world history.When we left Stalin at the end of Stalin Paradoxes of Power 1878 1928, it was 1928, and he had finally climbed the mountaintop and achieved dictatorial power of the Soviet empire The vastest peasant economy in the world would be transformed into socialist modernity, whatever it took What it took, or what Stalin believed it took, was the most relentless campaign of shock industrialization the world has ever seen This is the story of the five year plans, the new factory towns, and the integration of an entire system of penal labor into the larger economy With the Great Depression throwing global capital into crisis, the Soviet Union s New Man looked like nothing so much as the man of the future As the shadows of the 30 s deepen, Stalin s drive to militarize Soviet society takes on increasing urgency, and the ambition of Nazi Germany becomes the predominant geopolitical reality he faces when Hitler claims that communism is a global Judeo Bolshevik conspiracy to bring the Slavic race to power But just because they re out to get you doesn t mean you re not paranoid Stalin s paranoia is increasingly one of the most horrible facts of life for his entire country Stalin s obsessions drive him to violently purge almost a million people, including military leadership, diplomatic corps and intelligence apparatus, to say nothing of a generation of artistic talent And then came the pact that shocked the world, and demoralized leftists everywhere Stalin s pact with Hitler in 1939, the carve up of Poland, and Stalin s utter inability to see Hitler s build up to the invasion of the USSR Yet for all that, in just 12 years of total power, Stalin has taken this country from a peasant economy to a formidable modern war machine that rivaled anything else in the world When the invasion came, Stalin wasn t ready, but his country would prove to be prepared That is a dimension of the Stalin story that has never adequately been reckoned with before, and it looms large here Stalin Waiting for Hitler 1929 1941 is, like its predecessor, nothing less than a history of the world from Stalin s desk It is also, like its predecessor, a landmark achievement in the annals of its field, and in the biographer s art.

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    1. As late as 1928, a knowledgeable observer of Russian politics might assume that Josef Stalin was a rational, if not blunt, political leader. He had not yet become the megalomaniac dictator who would cause millions to die for his death quotas. Stephen Kotkin, in the second volume of his biographical trilogy, makes the valiant effort of balancing the story of Stalin the individual with Stalin the cold statesman. Kotkin is an institutional historian - when I leafed through his earlier work, Magneti [...]

    2. I doubt that anybody will write a better or more comprehensive biography of the "despot," as Kotkin calls the Soviet dictator, at least for many years to come. The book will interest specialists and history enthusiasts alike. It is the product of meticulous and exhaustive research and attempts to resolve several of the historical mysteries surrounding Stalin's reign. Of the two, Stalin is by far more important to world history than Lenin, and he also led a more interesting life. Say what you wil [...]

    3. This is a difficult book to review. One can only admire Kotkin's very close attention to archival material, extensive reading of the second hand sources, his no-BS, nonsentimental approach to his study material. Waiting for Hitler, at times reads like day-to-day account/or logbook of what Stalin did between 1928 and 1941. And, for the most part, this is the main strength of the book.Kotkin rejects two prevalent views on Stalin phenomenon. One is Stalin was a "psychopath, sadistic and paranoiac k [...]

    4. Stephen Kotkin is a historian who has written several outstanding books on Russian history and is now in the process of distilling his lifetime work into a monumental three part biography of Stalin. Volume 1 dealt with Stalin’s early life and his progress from relatively peripheral disciple of Lenin in 1917 to Lenin’s handpicked general secretary of communist party in 1922, to undisputed (though not yet completely all-powerful) boss and ruler of the Soviet Union by 1928. By the end of that v [...]

    5. and you think you have a tough boss??This is the second volume of Stephen Kotkin’s biography of Stalin (out of a projected three volumes). It is an outstanding biography and I cannot wait for the next volume.Kotkin picks up the story with the consolidation of power by Stalin and the move into the 1930s. The story is one of continuing violence, terror, and depravity. Stalin was one of the most accomplished killers - literally with millions of victims - in history and the book covers the period [...]

    6. My expectations were sky high for this book. Eventually, over the course of more than 1,100 pages, it met them. Volume one, Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928, was superb. Here is my review of volume two:The second installment of the historian Stephen Kotkin's planned three-volume biography of the Soviet despot, Stalin: Waiting for Hitler 1929-1941, contains an enormous amount of information from Kotkin's prodigious research. The book is divided into three parts: 1) the forced colle [...]

    7. Stephen Kotkin's second volume of his planned three-part biography of Stalin is one of the best biographies I've ever read. It is comprehensive, covering the events in the years 1929-1941 in great detail. It is also deeply researched, and Kotkin's enormous bibliography demonstrates his command of both primary and secondary sources. But most importantly of all, it is vividly written and full of Kotkin's own insights into Stalin's character. Kotkin's anathema for Soviet Communism is made clear, bu [...]

    8. I'd give this one 4 and a half.Kotkin follows a strictly chronological approach, which can lead to whipsawing from the struggle against Bukharin, to a border crisis with Japan, to cultural matters, to etc etc. It almost becomes one damn thing after another, which, admittedly, is what real life is. But I think this also makes the book hard to follow for someone not already deeply interested in Soviet history.This is NOT the first biography of Stalin someone should read.However, I can appreciate t [...]

    9. The comments I made concerning Volume One of Kotkin's enormous effort apply here: long book (900+ pages of text), Russian names (lots of them), micro print Notes (5300 or so), wide lens and sweeping scope.We travel to Spain, to Japan, to China; We creep into the inner sanctums of Britain, Russia, Germany; we consider the Balkans and invade Norway. Above all, we witness the mindless slaughter of Russians and Russian subjects. Stalin not only killed off spies and enemies but staggering numbers of [...]

    10. True to his intro in the first volume, Kotkin continues with the model of Stalin as a true-beleiver who was a product of the geo-political goings-on of the time. I'm not sure I understand all of the raves for this book. Really, it's a hard read, and there are other, more narrative-friendly Stalin biographies out there. For all of the detail, a lot of pertinent points are dropped and very little narrative support is extended for the "little people" who flow in and out of the story; Kotkin assumes [...]

    11. An exhaustive (and exhausting) bio of Stalin, documenting the 30s in micro fashion; nearly half the book's length is footnotes. The narrative begins with collectivization and deKulakization which is seen as the motor for much that follows including the terror of the mid thirties. The second half deals with international diplomacy, and finally the outbreak of war as Stalin gets trapped by his own misconceptions and paranoia. There is an amazing amount of detail processed and organized which leads [...]

    12. Interesting book on Joseph Stalin and how he ruled Russia in the 1930's. His reign was known as the Great Terror. He established gulags for his political prisoners and many died or executed. Stalin was ruthless during his reign in the Soviet Union as dictator and was responsible for the deaths of millions of Russians. During this time, Germany and Russia signed a nonaggression pact. However, on June 22, 1941, Hitler broke the treaty and began Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia where mi [...]

    13. This is a First Reads review.Kotkin has created a masterpiece of a biography, one that is very, very thorough but also eminently readable. Like most biographies of world leaders this is a lengthy book, even more so that it only covers twelve years of Stalin’s life, but the information is not concealed within a mass of text, all of the chapters are broken down into smaller sub-chapters to make for an engaging read.

    14. The second volume of Kottkin's essential biography of the mysterious tyrant. Incredibly deep and broad, it provides, finally, some sense (at least to Stalin) to the seemingly senseless Great Terror of 1936-1938. This episode (as well as every other time from the period covered) is captured in vivid style, with copious and useful footnotes. I only subtract one star because a few of the footnotes in this initial electronic version appear to be slightly out of place. Essential

    15. A scholarly, but readable book of Russian history which addresses much of the background of Russia today! Very detailed and footnoted, great find for historians, and also interesting enough for a casual reader who has enough time to read it. Stalin is a historical figure not generally known in the west except as a murderous tyrant, but this book explains some of what his reasoning apparently was. And does it well, although extensively.Book provided by

    16. The second volume of Kotkin's monumental biography, this covers the 1930's up until the onset of Barbarossa. As much a political history of the USSR during those years, Kotkin goes into incredible detail, focusing on the famine years, the purges, and then the oncoming war. I rate it as I high as I do because of this detail and the research that went into it although most will find it a fairly heavy slog. Personally I look forward to the third and final volume.

    17. masterful. covers so much while remaining cogent. to be trapped between two devils, Hitler and Stalin. The book was organized in an orderly fashion of 2 to 4 pages between bold headings. 909 Pages of actual text. Over 100 pages of footnotes which I attempted but gave up on. Am now eagerly awaiting Vol. III.

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