Blending impeccable scholarship and deeply revealing anecdotes, noted Soviet scholar Conquest (Stalin and the Kirov Murder, 1989, etc.) illuminates Stalin's role in history as well as his private character. ``Overall he gives the impression of a large and crude claylike figure, a golem, into which a demonic spark has been instilled,'' writes Conquest of ``a man who perhaps more than any other determined the course of the twentieth century.'' Conquest sifts through post-glasnost material to pursue the truth about the author of the Big Lie, who ``ruled not only by terror but also by falsification'' (the emblem of which was, Conquest notes, torture to extract false confessions).
Read full book review >