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Stalin : paradoxes of power, 1878-1928 de…
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Stalin : paradoxes of power, 1878-1928 (2014 original; edició 2014)

de Stephen Kotkin (Autor)

Sèrie: Kotkin's Stalin (1)

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408652,885 (4.37)6
"A magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world. It has the quality of myth: a poor cobbler's son, a seminarian from an oppressed outer province of the Russian empire, reinvents himself as a top leader in a band of revolutionary zealots. When the band seizes control of the country in the aftermath of total world war, the former seminarian ruthlessly dominates the new regime until he stands as absolute ruler of a vast and terrible state apparatus, with dominion over Eurasia. While still building his power base within the Bolshevik dictatorship, he embarks upon the greatest gamble of his political life and the largest program of social reengineering ever attempted: the collectivization of all agriculture and industry across one sixth of the earth. Millions will die, and many more millions will suffer, but the man will push through to the end against all resistance and doubts. Where did such power come from? In Stalin, Stephen Kotkin offers a biography that, at long last, is equal to this shrewd, sociopathic, charismatic dictator in all his dimensions. The character of Stalin emerges as both astute and blinkered, cynical and true believing, people oriented and vicious, canny enough to see through people but prone to nonsensical beliefs. We see a man inclined to despotism who could be utterly charming, a pragmatic ideologue, a leader who obsessed over slights yet was a precocious geostrategic thinker--unique among Bolsheviks--and yet who made egregious strategic blunders. Through it all, we see Stalin's unflinching persistence, his sheer force of will--perhaps the ultimate key to understanding his indelible mark on history. Stalin gives an intimate view of the Bolshevik regime's inner geography of power, bringing to the fore fresh materials from Soviet military intelligence and the secret police. Kotkin rejects the inherited wisdom about Stalin's psychological makeup, showing us instead how Stalin's near paranoia was fundamentally political, and closely tracks the Bolshevik revolution's structural paranoia, the predicament of a Communist regime in an overwhelmingly capitalist world, surrounded and penetrated by enemies. At the same time, Kotkin demonstrates the impossibility of understanding Stalin's momentous decisions outside of the context of the tragic history of imperial Russia. The product of a decade of intrepid research, Stalin is a landmark achievement, a work that recasts the way we think about the Soviet Union, revolution, dictatorship, the twentieth century, and indeed the art of history itself"--… (més)
Membre:nwisnoski
Títol:Stalin : paradoxes of power, 1878-1928
Autors:Stephen Kotkin (Autor)
Informació:New York : Penguin Press, 2014-
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Informació de l'obra

Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 de Stephen Kotkin (2014)

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This is interesting as a book about Stalin, but much more interesting as a formal experiment in biography, because there's not that much about Stalin here. Kotkin's canvas is much broader, and a better title might have been "Russia in the Age of Stalin" or, since that's probably the next volume, maybe "Russia During the Lifetime of Stalin." This is pretty impressive stuff, and it's an interesting way to write biography: just don't focus on the man, focus on the events, and then see where the man fits into them. Kotkin has some... biases, which aren't particularly helpful, but he's also a solid writer and pretty good at organizing his material. It can't be easy spending years with such a loathsome creature as Stalin, and I hope Kotkin's okay when he's finish. And I hope he gets rid of his biases then, too. I look forward to volume two, once my wrists have recovered from holding this monster. ( )
  stillatim | Oct 23, 2020 |
I am not a Soviet expert, but this is not the first book I have read about Stalin or the Bolshevik Revolution. Kotkin's biography greatly enhanced my understanding of both. On Stalin, the biggest takeaway for me was that he ruled and governed (is dictated a proper term in this case?) in the shadow and on the model of Lenin who pioneered political arrests and executions, ideological decisions, and autocratic rule. On the Bolshevik Revolution, I came away with a clearer picture of how tenuous it was. At times, they controlled little more than the major cities. I was not surprised by the unpopularity of World War I in Russia in 1917, but I was surprised how unpopular the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was. In one way it makes perfect sense because Russia gave up much in a very lopsided treaty (just like the one the Germans would be subjected to at Versailles) but, in reality, there was no way to end the war on more favorable terms. ( )
  gregdehler | Apr 29, 2018 |
A very thought-provoking read. Among the questions that came to mind during the course of my reading the book were the following:

1. Reacting to strong neighbors on the borders – If Russia had not been faced with strong dynamic powers on both its eastern and western borders, how would the course of Russian history have been changed?
2. “Pretexts” to action – Has the US ever "created pretext" to attack other countries? If so, when and how? If and to what extent do the Russian "pretexts" compared to the US pretexts?
3. Realpolitik – Has there been any difference between US realpolitik and Russian realpolitik under Stalin?
4. Consideration of diversity – Any countries have a more diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural mix of population than Russia?
5. Self-made man versus aristocrats –When Stalin dealt with Roosevelt and Churchill, was it in substance a self-made man meeting two aristocrats?
6. Stalin as a progressive – During the early years of the life of Stalin when he was a bookish autodidact, studying to be a priest, and looking out for the poor and social injustice, was he not doing the same types of things that the "progressives" were doing in the US?
7. Exercise of power for progress – Does the early progressive and intellectual background of Stalin provide an indication that when Stalin was reaching for power he was doing so as a means of implementing his progressive thoughts and ideas, and not just for the sake of personal power or wealth?
8. Necessity for harsh discipline – Was Stalin taught during his early years, by his experiences, that harsh discipline was appropriate to get other individuals to act in accordance with what was thought to be appropriate?
9. Appropriateness of spying – Stalin learned the appropriateness of spying by an organization since the seminary that he studied in engaged in spying?
10. Reason for harsh leaders – If the religious institutions, and other institutions, of a country and the society are harsher than elsewhere is it not reasonable to expect that the government officials of that country will also be harsher than elsewhere?
11. Oppressing the former oppressor – If the landowners violently oppressed the workers when the landowners had the power, does that provide a justification for the workers to later oppress the landowners when the workers have the power?
12. Using violence to oppose unjust treatment – If people are being treated unjustly and they have no way of discontinuing such treatment other than through the use of violence, would the use of violence be justifiable under those circumstances?
13. Imposing hardships for national protection – Did Stalin need to impose severe hardships on the agricultural section of the Russian economy to feed the industrial portion of the economy, so that the Russian industry could produce the weapons and other equipment needed to protect itself from the invasion?
14. Collectivization of farms for increased productivity – Prior to Russian agricultural collectivization was there credible objective evidence to support the belief that collectivization would increase the productivity of the agricultural sector of the economy?
15. Comparison to the alternative – Would the Russian people have been better off if there had been no Stalin and if the monarchy in Russia had continued?
16. Treatment of other dominated peoples – What is the comparison of (X) how Russia treated the people of the Russian satellite countries, and (Y) how Britain treated India under British control?
17. Considering the context – Is there any truth to the Stalin statement that "if you live among wolves you must behave like a wolf"?
18. Executions without due process – Is there any similarity in comparing (X) the summary executions ordered by Stalin, and (Y) US presidential orders of drone strikes to kill individuals who have not been tried and convicted?
19. Attacking potential enemies – What is the difference between (X) US attacks on "potential enemies", and (Y) Stalin's attack upon potential enemies?
20. Concern about enemies “in the neighborhood” – Was it unreasonable for Russia to be concerned about, and willing to fight against having Russian enemies encircle Russia, given that the US has adopted the Monroe Doctrine to keep foreign countries out of the Western Hemisphere? ( )
  dwgc | May 11, 2016 |
I fascinating read. Mr. Kotkin provides a well rounded appraisal of the development of one of the many monsters of the 20th century. I can't wait to read the follow up book. ( )
  hhornblower | Feb 4, 2016 |
Very comprehensive coverage of the historical period. Though the details of the biography should be taken with a grain of salt. Never the less a very interesting perspective. ( )
  xMMynsOtcgan5Gd47 | Sep 15, 2015 |
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Wikipedia en anglès (5)

"A magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world. It has the quality of myth: a poor cobbler's son, a seminarian from an oppressed outer province of the Russian empire, reinvents himself as a top leader in a band of revolutionary zealots. When the band seizes control of the country in the aftermath of total world war, the former seminarian ruthlessly dominates the new regime until he stands as absolute ruler of a vast and terrible state apparatus, with dominion over Eurasia. While still building his power base within the Bolshevik dictatorship, he embarks upon the greatest gamble of his political life and the largest program of social reengineering ever attempted: the collectivization of all agriculture and industry across one sixth of the earth. Millions will die, and many more millions will suffer, but the man will push through to the end against all resistance and doubts. Where did such power come from? In Stalin, Stephen Kotkin offers a biography that, at long last, is equal to this shrewd, sociopathic, charismatic dictator in all his dimensions. The character of Stalin emerges as both astute and blinkered, cynical and true believing, people oriented and vicious, canny enough to see through people but prone to nonsensical beliefs. We see a man inclined to despotism who could be utterly charming, a pragmatic ideologue, a leader who obsessed over slights yet was a precocious geostrategic thinker--unique among Bolsheviks--and yet who made egregious strategic blunders. Through it all, we see Stalin's unflinching persistence, his sheer force of will--perhaps the ultimate key to understanding his indelible mark on history. Stalin gives an intimate view of the Bolshevik regime's inner geography of power, bringing to the fore fresh materials from Soviet military intelligence and the secret police. Kotkin rejects the inherited wisdom about Stalin's psychological makeup, showing us instead how Stalin's near paranoia was fundamentally political, and closely tracks the Bolshevik revolution's structural paranoia, the predicament of a Communist regime in an overwhelmingly capitalist world, surrounded and penetrated by enemies. At the same time, Kotkin demonstrates the impossibility of understanding Stalin's momentous decisions outside of the context of the tragic history of imperial Russia. The product of a decade of intrepid research, Stalin is a landmark achievement, a work that recasts the way we think about the Soviet Union, revolution, dictatorship, the twentieth century, and indeed the art of history itself"--

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