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Download Stalin, Vol. 1: Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Stalin, Vol. 1: Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928, by Stephen Kotkin Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 5 4.50 (2 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephen Kotkin Narrator: Paul Hecht Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world. It has the quality of myth: A poor cobbler’s son, a seminarian from an oppressed outer province of the Russian Empire, reinvents himself as a revolutionary and finds a leadership role within a small group of marginal zealots. When the old world is unexpectedly brought down in a total war, the band seizes control of the country, and the new regime it founds as the vanguard of a new world order is ruthlessly dominated from within by the former seminarian until he stands as the absolute ruler of a vast and terrible state apparatus, with dominion over Eurasia. We think we know the story well. Remarkably, Stephen Kotkin’s epic new biography shows us how much we still have to learn. 

The product of a decade of scrupulous and intrepid research, Stalin contains a host of astonishing revelations. Kotkin gives an intimate first-ever view of the Bolshevik regime’s inner geography, bringing to the fore materials from Soviet military intelligence and the secret police. He details Stalin’s invention of a fabricated trial and mass executions as early as 1918, the technique he would later impose across the whole country. The book places Stalin’s momentous decision for collectivization more deeply than ever in the tragic history of imperial Russia. Above all, Kotkin offers a convincing portrait and explanation of Stalin’s monstrous power and of Russian power in the world. Stalin restores a sense of surprise to the way we think about the Soviet Union, revolution, dictatorship, the twentieth century, and indeed the art of history itself.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Masterly…Kotkin offers the sweeping context so often missing from all but the best biographies…[Stalin] presents a riveting tale, written with pace and aplomb. Kotkin has given us a textured, gripping examination of the foundational years of the man most responsible for the construction of the Soviet state in all its brutal glory. The first volume leaves the reader longing for the story still to come.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Superb…Mr. Kotkin’s volume joins an impressive shelf of books on Stalin. Only Mr. Kotkin’s book approaches the highest standard of scholarly rigor and general-interest readability.” 

    Wall Street Journal

  • “This is a very serious biography that…is likely to well stand the test of time.”

    New York Review of Books

  • “An ambitious, massive, highly detailed work that offers fresh perspectives on the collapse of the czarist regime, the rise of the Bolsheviks, and the seemingly unlikely rise of Stalin to total power over much of the Eurasian land mass…This is an outstanding beginning to what promises to be a definitive work on the Stalin era.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Authoritative and rigorous…Staggeringly wide in scope, this work meticulously examines the structural forces that brought down one autocratic regime and put in place another.” 

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “This is an epic, thoroughly researched account that presents a broad vision of Stalin, from his birth to his rise to absolute power.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Kotkin has been researching his magisterial biography of Stalin for a decade. Inescapably important reading.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 4.333333 out of 54.333333 out of 54.333333 out of 54.333333 out of 54.333333 out of 5 by Bur | 3/24/2016

    " If you think that nothing new could be added to the history of Stalin, read this book. Kotkin does a tremendous job of examining not only Stalin. He set out writing because he had two basic questions that he had no answers for. Firstly, did Stalin's seminary training affect his belief system; did he believe in God? Secondly, how did a nobody from a borken family in a small town rise to be leader of the largest country and significant power in the world. Looking for those answers excuses that Kotkin spends some chapters before he begins to address Stalin in earnest. It was a wonderful book. Recommended. "

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About the Author

Stephen Kotkin is the John P. Birkelund Professor in History and International Affairs at Princeton University, where he has taught since 1989. He is also a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He directs Princeton’s Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies program. He has been a frequent contributor to the New York Times, among other publications, and is the author of several books, including Uncivil Society, Armageddon Averted, and Magnetic Mountain.