In This Review

Stalin: Man And Ruler
Stalin: Man And Ruler
By Robert H. McNeal
New York University Press, 1988, 309 pp.

Now that in the Soviet Union it is open season on Stalin, who knows what new and grisly revelations will come from Soviet historians and biographers? They may not be so different from the studies of Stalin and Stalinism that have come from the pens of Western scholars. That of Robert McNeal, the product of many years of research, sets a standard against which others, whether by insiders or outsiders, will be measured. Above all, it seeks to ferret out what actually happened in all the obscure events of the Stalin era. Throughout, the author portrays his subject as a man rather than a demon, but no ordinary man and in no ordinary country. "And so terror, rationality and insanity appear as inextricably intertwined in Soviet society under Stalin as in his persona."