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Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Juni 2004

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  • Taschenbuch: 720 Seiten
  • Verlag: Phoenix House; Auflage: New Ed (1. Juni 2004)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0753817667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753817667
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,7 x 4,7 x 19,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 130.218 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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'Crammed with grimly revealing anecdotes and hitherto unheard testimony, this is a book that anatomises, with vivid insight and compelling readability, the corruptions of absolute power and the psychology of those who wield it. SUNDAY TIMES 'There is unlikely ever to be a more engrossing account of the life of Joseph Stalin than his huge biography.' -- Charles Osborne SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'As intellectually perceptive as it is horrifically enthralling the book is packed with insights into this ostensibly avuncular paranoid... prodigious in his research, Montefiore tells the grisly story with style and elegance.' -- Christopher Hirst THE INDEPENDENT 'Daily accounts from the breakfast table to the Politburo provide an incisive portrait of the inner workings of a brute's mind.' THE HERALD 'This isn't just a gripping slice of history, but an extraordinary psychological study of a murderous dictator who 'Knew He Was Right.' Here is more love, death and intrigue than you find in any thirller.' INDEPENDENT MAGAZINE 'a marvellously racy, gossipy study, based on immense research.' THE EVENING STANDARD 'Simon Sebag Montefiore's writing is caustic and superb and he wears his rigorous scholarship with style.' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'This is not simply another book about Stalin. It is a horrifying, hypnotic and at times, darkly amusing account of the lives of the families who ruled the Soviet Union... this page turner captivates and repels in equal measures.' THE OBSERVER 'This book should help purge any lingering nostalgia for the USSR.' IRISH TIMES 'there are plenty of political histories of the Stalinist era, but what makes Simon Sebag Montefiore's grimly fascinating book so special is the intimate protrait he sketches of the Soviet dictator's close circle of family and friends.' MAIL ON SUNDAY


There have been many biographies of Stalin, but the court that surrounded him is untravelled ground. Simon Sebag Montefiore, acclaimed biographer of Catherine the Great's lover, prime minister and general Potemkin, has unearthed the vast underpinning that sustained Stalin. Not only ministers such as Molotov or secret service chiefs such as Beria, but men and women whose loyalty he trusted only until the next purge. ' impressive and compelling work' Philip Mansel, Spectator 'This magnificent portrait of the dictator' Richard Overy, Literary Review

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Nadya and Stalin had been married for fourteen years but it extended deeper and longer than that, so steeped was their marriage in Bolshevism. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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Aus objektiver britischer Sicht schildert Sebag Montefiore das Leben am Hof des Zaren, ohne auch die grausamen Schattenseiten zu verschweigen, so als funktionierte die russisch-britisch-französisch-amerikanische Kooperative
gegen Nazideutschland heute erneut wie 1945: Eine Befreiung von Unterdrückung und Schlechtigkeiten.
Stalin als geringeres Übel gegenüber Adolf Hitler.
Nicht zuletzt ergehen sich große Teile der ostdeutschen Bevölkerung noch heute in Ostalgie und denken sehr gerne an die DDR-Zeit zurück,....
Ein echter Russe lebt nach wie vor gerne in Russland, und das nicht nur wegen des Kaviar,....

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185 von 198 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Extraordinary Examination of the Banality of Evil 23. August 2004
Von Leonard Fleisig - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Hannah Arendt, in her work Eichmann in Jerusalem, coined the phrase `banality of evil' to describe the rather bland existence of those who, like Eichman, were capable of committing unpardonable acts of unspeakable bestiality. Simon Sebag Montefiore's elegantly written Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar (Red Tsar) mines this same vein in his examination of the life of Stalin and his inner circle. Red Tsar provides the reader with an inside, almost voyeuristic, view of the life of Stalin and his circle from his accession to power after the death of Lenin until his own death in 1953. Montefiore does a masterful job of setting out the personal lives and inner workings of Stalin and his court against the backdrop of the extraordinary historic events that wracked the USSR during those times. During Stalin's rein the Ukraine was wracked by forced starvation in the Ukraine and rural masses were brutally killed and/or exiled in the anti-kulak campaign. Through show trials and purges and through a war on the eastern front that will probably never be matched for horror and brutality, Stalin and his courtiers lived lives of bourgeois expectations and affectation that would be recognizable if they were played out in Moscow, Idaho and not the USSR.

Red Tsar has been meticulously researched. Montefiore has done a marvelous job of examining newly opened Russian archives. He interviewed a large number of surviving family members of the inner circle and was provided access to diaries, memoirs, and personal correspondence that has not been seen by historians prior to this work. The end notes can be a bit confusing but it's clear that Montefiore's factual observations and his evaluations of those observations are grounded deeply in thorough research.

Red Tsar begins with the death, apparently by suicide, of Stalin's second wife, Nadya. Despite rumors that Stalin killed his wife Montefiore makes clear the emotional devastation visited upon Stalin as the result of her death and gives little credence to the rumor. The death of Nadya takes pride of place in Red Tsar because it is Montefiore's opinion that the emotional blow was the turning point at which Stalin began the transformation that would take him from strong ruler to brutal tyrant.

From this point Montefiore takes us back and examines the process by which Stalin acquired absolute power. Montefiore makes it clear that, contrary to popular belief, it took Stalin years to acquire the power that has since become enshrined in myth. He did not just intimidate people, he cajoled, he charmed, and he compromised. Even as late as the mid-1930's there were more than a few instances where Stalin did not quite get his way. Unfortunately, Stalin had a prodigious memory for slights and obstacles along his path to power. Stalin was, if nothing else, capable of long term thinking and he did not need instant gratification when it came to evening the score.

Montefiore does an incredible job of humanizing Stalin without once belittling the horrors that were committed in his name. Montefiore does not excuse Stalin by dispelling the myth that his life involved nothing more than engaging in evil acts. Rather, his fleshing out the person that was Stalin, highly literate, smart, often engaging and charming, devoted to his daughter points out the duality from which banality can give birth to evil. Further, this work is not simply an overview of Stalin's personal life. It is an overview of Stalin's court, Beria, Malenkov, Molotov, Krushchev, Yezhov (NKVD boss before Beria), and Zhdanov and their families. They all lived in the same apartment complexes in or near the Kremlin. They were friends as well as rivals and their wives and children mingled freely with each other and even with Stalin.

Stalin's interest in literature and the arts is also examined closely. Stalin had a strong interest in the arts and considered himself the ultimate arbiter. He was instrumental in having Gorky return to the USSR where he was treated as a returning hero. He peered over, edited, praised, or criticized the works of Babel, Akhmatova, Eisenstein, and Shostakovich. He was, perhaps, a dilettante, but a dilettante with the power of life and death.

Last, two portions of the book are particularly compelling. The first takes place in the immediate aftermath of the German invasion of the USSR in June, 1941. Totally despondent over the overwhelming early losses suffered by a military criminally weakened by purges and aware that Hitler had completely outfoxed him. He took to his rooms and would not come out. Finally, when his court finally saw fit to intrude on Stalin's isolation Stalin quivered and asked if they had come to arrest or execute him. Equally compelling is the story of Stalin's long medical decline and the horrible events surrounding his lingering death.

One caveat for readers new to Soviet history. Montefiore's treatment focuses on the inner workings of Stalin and his court. He describes the historic events that take place outside the court in a manner that assumes a certain baseline familiarity with those events. As good as this book is, the reader new to Soviet history might be well served to start off with a general history before delving into Red Tsar. Having said that, Court of the Red Tsar is a wonderful treatment of the inner works of life under Stalin. It should be read and savored.
56 von 59 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Horrifyingly Fascinating Account of Stalin 28. Juni 2004
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I must admit that I feel a bit of guilt for the compulsive manner in which I read this highly personal account of life in the court of Stalin. This well-told story is horrible, but fascinating.
Montefiore makes no effort to dissect the big geopolitical issues of the Stalin era, except to use them as a backdrop to the backstabbing, denunciations, groveling, and horror in which the senior leadership of the Soviet Union operated from the early 30s until the early 50s. Using in-depth interviews and newly-available archival information, including much of the correspondence between and among the senior leadership, Montefiore fleshes out what was going on under the surface, in particular the complex love-hate (mostly hate) relationship of Stalin to his court.
It's a wonderful account of a country run by leaders who viewed their role more as mafiosi than as leaders of a legitimate government. In a real sense, they were gangsters and that's the way they ran the country--including the way Stalin required the leadership to all participate in the Great Terror (he wanted all them to have blood on their hands and thus share in the collective guilt).
The author's behind-the-scenes view of the Great Terror is the centerpiece of the book. His portraits of Yeshov and Beria, the two most malignant monsters after Stalin, will now be etched into my memory.
But in the end, the book is a portrait of Stalin, a man who could turn on the charm, perform an act of kindness for an old comrade, then in the next moment sign the death warrants of hundreds of innocent victims. I disagree with other reviewers who criticize the author for treating Stalin too kindly. There's no question where Montefiore stands: he views Stalin was a monster, and Stalin's occasional human touches makes him even more so.
I've had long-term interest in 20th century Russian history, particularly trying to understand how a country could find itself in the hands of the personification of evil. This book helps answer the question.
A final point. Montefiore is an excellent story teller. I don't pretend to be in position to judge all his conclusions, but they have the ring of truth to them, and the author is good about telling the reader when he's departed from evidence into speculation.
I recommend this book. I only wish that in reading it, I lacked the guilty fascination that comes from watching an entire nation turned into a train wreck by a single evil man.
83 von 91 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Inside Stalin 17. April 2004
Von Newton Munnow - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Any historical figure who has earned the suffix of an '-ism' has, most likely, long been shrouded in myth. Sebag Montefiore has dug deep into the archives and found an astounding amount of new material to chart the inner circle of Stalin's court, bringing the man out of the shadows and into the third dimension. You may well wish he'd stayed in the dark. STALIN makes for fascinating and often brutal reading. Most extraordinary is just what a closed and cosy court Stalin reigned over. Sebag Montefiore manages to recreate the lethal and intimate atmosphere that all who chose to be close to him were forced to endure. Most interesting are the early days, long before corruption had penetrated the Politburo. Here, the author uncovers the highest ranking officials taking trams to work, and Stalin's own wife begging 50 roubles off her husband for children's clothes. The descent soon begins, and Sebag Montefiore follows its course in excerpts from Stalin's own archives and interviews too numerous to mention. Every now and then, there is the tiniest slip. In one sentence, an official is described as both bald and red headed, but that is pure pedantry. It's hard to imagine a more fascinating biography hitting the shelves this year. Be warned, it's a 600 page hernia of a tome, but take comfort in the author's ability to keep the pages turning.
22 von 22 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A riveting look into the life of Stalin. 5. September 2004
Von Virgil - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Eventually it may come to pass that conventional wisdom among historians will be that there is no more influential or terrible figure in Russian history- outdoing even Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great or Catherine the Great- than Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvil who as a young Bolshevik took the name Stalin [Russian for steel]. The life of Stalin has been visited many times by historians, biographers, in memoirs by those who knew him. A picture emerges of a calculating, Machiavellian paranoid committed to a state enforced regime of communism but above all committed to the elimination of real and perceived `enemies' who stood in the way of his complete grasp of power.

Simon Montefiore has done an outstanding job in revisiting the life of Stalin viewed through the lens of his personal life. What emerges is a more human view [if one can use that term for a man responsible for the most deaths of the 20th century] of the life of Stalin. Montefiore shows Stalin the father, the husband and the in-law. And what an in-law he was. Traumatized by the suicide of his second wife Nadya, Stalin becomes increasingly morose and irritated by her family. To that end most ended up being arrested and dying within the Gulag system, rather than protecting them, their ties to Stalin and the intimacy that comes with it is responsible for their deaths.

Montefiore highlights how the inner circle of Russia's leadership strove to guess and to carry out their leader's policies. Stalin, the master manipulator, played his inner circle against each other. To be within the leadership was an honor and a dangerous place. One's fate and the fate of his family was tied to Stalin's mercurial attitude. On several occasions his sycophants wives were arrested [Malenkov, Proskrebychev] and kept in confinement or shot with their husbands remaining on with Stalin continuing with their work. It was not uncommon for high ranking members such as Beria, Malenkov and Kruschev to inquire with Stalin's repulsive secretary Proskrebychev on his mood before entering his office in order to brace themselves for his outbursts, outbursts that could lead to one's demise if not handled correctly. In one well-known story a famous Russian pilot and Air Force general responded to an outburst with a drunken accusation that it was Stalin's fault that planes were unsatisfactory. Within a week he was arrested and perished within the NKVD [secret police] headquarters.

What Montefiore draws is a man who acts much like a vindictive Georgian clan leader. His inner circle are expected to keep the same excrutiating hours as he did- going to bed daily at 6 am- to feast with him at 2 am [Kruschev called these dinners hell] and as he grew older, to drink heavily. No one was excused and no one wanted to allow the others much time alone with Stalin. The irony is he kept those around him in such a state of fear that when he suffered a stroke his guards were too afraid to even enter his home to inquire about why he had not ventured out all day.

This is an excellent study into his personal affairs and Montefiore did his homework, interviewing family members, reading correspondence and official documents. This isn't the first Stalin biography one must visit, others by Ulam, Tucker and Deutcher are recommended. But it does illuminate these political biographies and is certainly less `gossipy' then the entertaining Radzinsky biography of Stalin.

Highly recommended.
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A multi-faceted Stalin: sometimes tender, always terrifying 6. Januar 2005
Von BCA Bortignon - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Simon Sebag Montefiore has written perhaps the greatest chronicle of the life of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (Djugashvili to anyone who dared), his cabinet, their relationships with Koba and each other, their fears, power struggles, double and sometimes triple sidedness, with the utmost academic integrity and sensitivity.

It is easy to look back at Stalin and call him a devil, a Mephistopheles with no redeeming qualities, no hope for a better person struggling to escape from deep within his crippled body, no regrets for the crimes he commited. As Kruschev later said about himself, that applies doubly to Stalin: "I am up to my elbows in blood." Stalin often doubted himself, thought himself vicious and even cruel, had outbursts of sensitivity (the death of Nadya, for example) that make him seem all too human. But, with Stalin, these moments are underscored with very dark intentions. Did he murder Nadya himself in a fit of rage? Did he order the murder of Sergei Kirov, essentially paving the way for killing millions in the Great Purges? Why did he let a family member kill himself in a German concentration camp rather than agree to swapping him for a captured German general? It is easy to say it was out of some twisted malevolence, some psycopathic murderous rampage without reason, a hyperbolic shooting spree, but that is too easy. Montefiore does not paint Stalin in a sympathetic light, nor does he paint him in a Mesphistophelian one, he paints him in what I believe is a balanced and, for all intents and purposes, true one.

Though beware: before you plunge into this book be at least reasonably well versed in the general events and lingo of World War II. This isn't a historical recollection of the principle events of World War II: there is more time dedicated to the affairs of Politburo members and the sadistic rape-sprees of NKVD chief Beria than there is information about the fall of Berlin, the death of Hitler, or the Battle of Stalingrad. The War is over in a paragraph, Hiroshima and Nagasaki obliterated in the span of a sentence. Furthermore, Montefiore does not dare (I'm sure he is able to) come to general conclusions at the end of what are information dense chapters, which can prove to be frustrating. The books lacks a definite "spine": some information - complicated information - such as the intermarriage of Politburo sons and step-sons and daughters and step-daughters that appear in all their complicated glory for a couple of pages, only to disappear into obscurity never to be mentioned again. I poured over these sections trying to get the order right only to find it had little to do with anything. The book certainly needed another editor to get rid of these points that may only prove interesting to hardcore chroniclers. The general reader or even the student reader will find no use for them.

With these flaws in mind, it must be said that Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar is a triumph of post-Communist Soviet scholarship. The prose, although sometimes amateurish (some of his grammar is clunky and his structure unnecessarily complicated), is more often strong and powerful. Forceful even, with strong emotional impact. The fate of Sergo, the Rykovs, Kamenev and Zinoviev, Bukharin, are tragic events in the life of an increasingly paranoid, dangerously unstable, vicious, chilling tyrant that so often resembles nothing short of a tragicomedy.

This is a highly recommended book. If you have a decent knowledge of basic War-time Europe and the principle events then this is a must have. My advice is to slog through the perhaps extraneous bits, because the moments of brilliance you get along the way are well worth it. The postscript is marvellous.

I'd say enjoy this book, but enjoy is the wrong word. There isn't much enjoyable about mass murder and the systematic destruction of friends and family. Rather than enjoy this book, consider it. Consider all its themes, all its messages. Consider it and you will come out with an altered perspective on history and the judgement of the great personalities.
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