• The Leader and the System

    Author(s):
    Michael David-Fox (see profile)
    Date:
    2016
    Subject(s):
    20th century, Political history, Soviet Union
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    biography, Stalinism, Stalin
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6CF7P
    Abstract:
    First para: Do new biographies of the dictator provoke deeper analysis of the Soviet system? Will the life of Stalin open up new ways of understanding Stalinism? Past experience, it has to be said, raises doubts. Of all the biographies of Stalin, few have integrated, much less altered, the state of the art in Soviet history.1 The main reason for this fact also explains why so many Stalin biographies get written: they sell. The temptation is perennial for semilearned amateurs to pen sensationalist blockbusters. More sober-minded academic biographies, when written by those focused on the leader more than the system, tend to elide the much more difficult conceptual questions of how Stalin shaped— and, crucially, was shaped by—first revolutionary Russia and then the broader Soviet political system, culture, and ideology.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved

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