1st Edition

From the Caucasus to the Kremlin

ISBN 9780415519502
Published December 21, 2016 by Routledge
362 Pages

USD $46.95

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Book Description

This new biography of Stalin offers an accessible and up-to-date representation of one of the twentieth-century’s defining figures, as well as new insights, analysis and illumination to deepen our understanding of his actions, intentions and the nature of the power that he wielded.

Christopher Read examines Stalin’s contribution to and impact on Russian and world events in the first half of the twentieth century. The biography brings together the avalanche of sources and scholarship which followed the collapse of the system Stalin constructed, including the often neglected writings and speeches of Stalin himself. In addition to a detailed narrative and analysis of Stalin’s rule, chapters also cover his early years and humble beginnings in a small town at a remote outpost of the Russian Empire, his role in the revolution, his relationships with Lenin, Trotsky and others in the 1920s, and his rise to become one of the most powerful figures in human history. The book closes with an account of Stalin’s afterlife and legacy, both in the immediate aftermath of his death and in the decades since.

This concise account of Stalin’s life is the perfect introduction for students of modern Russian history.

Table of Contents



  1. From Djugashvili to Stalin
  2. The Grey Blur – Stalin in Revolution and Civil War
  3. Filling Lenin’s Shoes
  4. Storming Fortresses
  5. Nine Circles of Hell
  6. Stalin, the Soviet Union and the World in the 1930s
  7. The Tenth Circle of Hell: Invasion, Occupation, Victory - War without limits]
  8. World Stage, Final Act
  9. Stalin’s Afterlife – an Inconclusive Conclusion

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Christopher Read is Professor of Later Modern European History at the University of Warwick. His previous publications include Lenin: A Revolutionary Life (Routledge Historical Biographies, 2005) and War and Revolution in Russia: 191422 (2013).


"In this myth-busting biography, Chris Read is clear: Stalin may have been a monster, but he was a Marxist-Leninist monster. Read challenges the reader to accept that Stalin could only have done the terrible things he did because he was popular, and for that reason alone this book should be read by all students of history."
Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Swain, former Alec Nove Chair in Russian and East European Studies, University of Glasgow, UK