• by Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • Narrated by John Nettles
  • 10 hrs and 31 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.


What the Critics Say

"A marvellously racy, gossipy study, based on immense research." (Evening Standard)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Superb and horrifying biography

It is said that history is written by the victors of wars and certainly the crimes perpetrated by Stalin and his repressive regime took years to be revealed. I was aware that Stalin’s policies had caused the deaths of many millions of his citizens and that he easily equalled Hitler in his heinous crimes. However, this outstanding and engrossing biography of Stalin’s reign of terror was a revelation to me as it documented his extreme paranoia and at times bungling incompetence and how he got away with it by keeping his acolytes in a state of fear that they would too would be executed on trumped up charges. I hadn’t realised the sheer scale of reprisals against those who served with him and their families. It must have been a frightening time to be near this despot. It’s depressing that history keeps repeating itself and how how uncurbed power in the end corrupts.

The book is a great listen as pacy as a crime thriller and the narrator is good.
Highly recommended.
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- Kirstine

Well read, but grim subject matter

This is a well written and performed account of the Stalin era purges.

That said, it is a bit grim and relentless - as you might expect from the subject matter, but unlike (say) ancient history, these events feel closer to home due to their relative recency.
Be warned, that , while not described in particularly gory terms , the real life events outlined are tough to hear about.

John Nettles is excellent at narrating the book and it is well laid out....
...but in the end, the unremitting grimness as yet another person (or million people) is purged rather detracts and you may find yourself, like me, not wishing to listen any more.
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- Andrew

Book Details

  • Release Date: 19-04-2006
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group Limited