In the second volume of his massive biography, Tucker continues his combination of narrative history and inquiry into Stalin's psyche. He believes that his subject lived with the fiction of an idealized Stalin-revolutionary hero, true successor to Lenin, etc.-which the real Stalin, a far cry from the ideal, attempted by any and all means to turn into reality. We shall never know Stalin's innermost thoughts, yet Tucker is persuasive as a historian probing the forces that made history. A large part of the study is devoted to the great purge, show trials and terror by which Stalin killed off the old Bolsheviks, destroyed the power of the Communist Party and terrorized the population. Domestic and international issues are thoroughly explored, especially as they fit into the pattern of Stalin's genius and accumulation of power. Based on years of research and new revelations from Soviet sources, the book is a splendid achievement.
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