‘I trust no one, not even myself.’ – Joseph Stalin
Thug, armed robber, activist, revolutionary, tyrant – we know the headlines, we know about the atrocities, but what do we really know of the man at the heart of it all? Stalin looks behind the image of the dictator and explores Ioseb Jughashvili’s Georgian childhood, his early political awakening, his criminal life, his rise within the Bolshevik party, and his times in exiles. It examines his personal life, including his two marriages and children from other relationships, his son’s attempted suicide and his second wife’s suicide. It charts his emergence as leader, his political ideology, his handling of famines, his secret police, gulags and murderous purges. It explores Stalin as war leader through the Civil War, Polish-Soviet War and World War II, and examines how he brought Eastern Europe behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ after 1945. It investigates the theory that the dictator might have been murdered by those close to him, and looks at just how quickly leading Soviet figures denounced the personality cult around him after his death. Stalin industrialised the Soviet Union and established the country as a world power – but at immense human cost. Expertly written and illustrated with 180 photographs, paintings and artworks, Stalin tells the inside story behind one of the most significant figures of the 20th century.