Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives
Granted privileged access to Russia's secret archives, Edvard Radzinsky has broken down the iron curtain of myth, secrecy, and lies that has surrounded Stalin's life and career, painting a picture of the Soviet strongman as more calculating, ruthless, and blood-crazed than has ever been described or imagined. Stalin was a man for whom power was all, terror a useful weapon, and deceit a constant companion. Even the very first thing we know about Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, a.k.a. Stalin ("the man of steel"), is, Radzinsky shows, false: he was not born on December 21, 1879, as officially maintained, but a full year earlier.
As Radzinsky narrates the high drama of Stalin's epic quest for domination - first within the Communist Party, then over the Soviet Union and the world - he uncovers the startling truth about this most enigmatic of historical figures. Only now, in the post-Soviet era, can what was long suppressed be told: Stalin's long-denied involvement with terrorism as a young revolutionary; the real story of how he mangled his left arm; the crucial importance of his misunderstood, behind-the-scenes role during the October Revolution; his often hostile relationship with Lenin, who used but never fully trusted him; the details of his organization of terror, culminating in the infamous show trials of the 1930s; his secret dealings with Hitler, and how they backfired; and the horrifying plans he was making before his death to send the Soviet Union's Jews to concentration camps - tantamount to a potential second Holocaust. Radzinsky also takes an intimate look at Stalin's private life, marked by his turbulent relationship with his wife Nadezhda, and re-creates the circumstances that led to her suicide. Finally, Radzinsky discovers one of Stalin's elite bodyguards, who breaks forty years of silence to give the strongest evidence yet of the conspiracy behind Stalin's death.