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Description - The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin by Richard Lourie

In a spellbinding novel that combines the suspense of a thriller and the accuracy of a work of history, the psychology of a monster is fully revealed, every atom of his madness explored, every twist of his homicidal logic followed to its logical conclusion. "Leon Trotsky is trying to kill me," thinks Joseph Stalin. It's a paranoid lie, but all too real to Stalin. Trotsky, in exile in Mexico City, is writing a biography of Stalin that may offer proof of a secret crime that could force Stalin from power. What will Trotsky disclose before the long hand of Stalin reaches him and eliminates the threat? The prospect leads Stalin to reflect on his own life,the sly and domineering schoolboy battling a sadistic father ...a youthful poet, thief, and seminarian who questions morality, evil, and the existence of God until he finds answers that free him to a life of power and slaughter. Stalin takes us deeper and deeper into his life and into the labyrinth of his psyche until we are finally alone with him. The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin is a mesmerizing journey to the very heart of evil.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780306809972
ISBN-10: 0306809974
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 140mm x 17mm)
Pages: 272
Imprint: Da Capo Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 14-Sep-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin by Richard Lourie

Book Reviews - The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin by Richard Lourie

US Kirkus Review » A forceful attempt to plumb the heart of evil. Lourie, a novelist (Zero Gravity, 1987, etc.), translator, and the author of a series of nonfiction books on modern Russia, brings great knowledge to bear on this imagined record by Stalin. In straightforward prose, his Stalin traces with no hint of sentimentality his childhood, his clashes with a drunken, abusive father, his early hopes (quickly dashed) to be a poet, and his embrace of Bolshevism in prerevolutionary Russia as a likely path to power. Stalin is above all things shrewd, calculating, without hesitation. His wary relationship with the cunning Lenin, his ruthless attempts to ceaselessly gain more power and displace those others closer to Lenin, his clashes with the party intellectuals, whom he scorns, are all recounted in rapid-fire manner. Because Stalin is supposed to be setting down these memoirs in the '30s, long after he's gained power, his recollections of his long years in the underground, the coming of the revolution, and the early days of the Communist state are repeatedly interrupted by his obsessive musings on Leon Trotsky. Lourie's Stalin is consumed by hatred and fear of Trotsky, the Wac revolutionary and a figure once seen as Lenin's heir. Distrusting Trotsky's principles, fearful of his influence, Stalin argues, again and again, his case against the exiled Trotsky, and plots to have him killed. Lourie catches, in the laconic tones of Stalin's self-satisfied recollections, his pure ruthlessness; his absolute contempt for life; his furious need for power; his scorn for those willing to be led; his hatred of principles, and his exuberant nihilism ("I feel nothing because nothing is all there is to feel"). Gradually, without melodrama, Lourie creates a convincing portrait of a figure for whom, eventually, only absolute power could stave off terror. His version of Stalin's warped soul subtly demonstrates how true evil is all too human in its origins. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Richard Lourie

Richard Lourie is the author of three novels and four books of nonfiction and has translated some forty books from Russian and Polish into English. His articles and reviews have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, and the Nation. He lives in New York City.

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