Drawing on a wealth of unexplored material - available for the first time since the collapse of the former Soviet Union - Robert Service's biography of Stalin is the most authoritative yet published. It concentrates not simply on Stalin as dedicated bureaucrat or serial political killer, but on a fuller assessment of his formative interactions in Georgia, his youthful revolutionary activism, his relationship with Lenin, with his family, and with his party members. 'This is effectively the first full biography since perestroika to encompass the economic, political, diplomatic, military, administrative and, above all, ideological dimensions, as well as the personal aspects of Stalin's colossal life . . . Gritty and unshowy, but enlightened by Service's compelling characterisation, magisterial analysis and dry wit, this outstanding biography of lightly worn authority, wide research and superb intuition will be read for decades' Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of STALIN: The Court of the Red Tsar Sunday Times

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