This major study of Stalin as warlord and peacemaker is the culmination of a decade of research in American, British and Russian archives. It proposes a wholesale revision of the accepted view of this period of Stalin’s life and career. The book argues that new evidence from Russian archives shows that the Soviet dictator was a highly effective and very successful war leader, one who was committed to a peacetime grand alliance with the west – an aim thwarted by the outbreak of the Cold War. It also examines Soviet internal politics from the 1930s to the 1950s and highlights the importance of the patriotic identity adopted by the Stalin regime and how this impacted on Soviet foreign and domestic policies.
Stalin emerges from this book as a highly talented but complex and contradictory dictator: a diplomat as well as a despot, a soldier and a statesmen, a rational bureaucrat and a paranoid politician. The greatest paradox of all is that Stalin – the greatest of warlords - was the dictator who defeated Hitler and helped save the world for democracy.
This controversial book has provoked admiration and critique in equal measure from the reviewers. But even its sternest critics acknowledge it as a brilliantly written study of the last decade of Stalin’s life and career - a work of major scholarly importance that will shape debate on the Second World War and the Cold War for years to come.
Geoffrey Roberts is Emeritus Professor of History at University College Cork and a Member of the Royal Irish Academy. A leading Soviet history expert, his many books include an award-winning biography of Zhukov, Stalin’s General and the acclaimed Stalin’s Wars:From World to Cold War.
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