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Young Stalin

Narrated by: Sean Barrett
Length: 6 hrs and 35 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

Non-member price: $16.38

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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Costa Biography Award, 2007.

Young Stalin is a remarkable adventure story about an exceptional, turbulent young man, born in exoticism, raised in the church, fancying himself a poet, then embracing revolutionary idealism and thereby finding his romantic, Messianic mission in life.

All the roots of Stalin the Great Dictator can be traced to his youth - not merely his psychology, but his hatreds, his loves, his intellectual interests, his gangsterish murderousness, his friendships, his knowledge of the world. Above all, in the underground Bolshevik life are the seeds that grew into the paranoia and Terror of the Soviet imperium. Young Stalin is the product of major new research.

This book is the prequel to the international best-selling biography Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar.

©2007 Simon Sebag Montefiore (P)2006 Orion Publishing Group Ltd

What listeners say about Young Stalin

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What is the making of a tyrant?

If we as a society of highly intelligent social creatures are to improve as civilisations, then we must learn why people the people they become. This is especially so for those despotic leaders we've come to despise for their deeds. This why, I believe Young Stalin is essential reading.

It is a very well written, easy to read account how Stalin evolved into a self-centred despot, as it exposes his fractured childhood by an absentee drunken, abusive father and over-protective, clinging mother which goes to somewhat explain his fear of being robbed of supreme adulation. Highly recommend this book.

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  • Judith
  • 17-01-2012

Get inside Stalin's head with this story

If you could sum up Young Stalin in three words, what would they be?

Mesmerising, engrossing and thrilling

What did you like best about this story?

The degree of details available though Stalin's personal letters and/or the records from close associates and the police and secret service.

Have you listened to any of Sean Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. Not bad got to like his voice eventually.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

What made Stalin the murderer he became

Any additional comments?

An essential novel for anyone interested in the what and why of the Soviet system. A book that must be listen to before the other book of Simon Sebag Monetfiore, the Court of the Red Czar - also an excellent book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kris Reid
  • 20-07-2019

long and very detailed

it's easy to get lost in the detail with so many characters. he's a complex man and it's an interesting story

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  • Anthony
  • 28-06-2009

Informative

Very informative

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  • Lord Peridot
  • 11-08-2016

Why the abridgement?

This is a good book revealing much about the young dictator's life and times. And it is well read. Barrett's voice is something of a growling drone. But not unpleasantly so. And his tone suits the serious, grim nature of the subject.

As for the abridgement. Surely anyone interested enough to choose this book is interested in studying the Russian revolution and Russia in the 20th century and so will want more information, not less. Why go to the trouble and expense of publishing an abridged version of the book? Its as if some bright spark thinks that the public are too stupid to read or listen to the whole work, so we are given a spoon fed version istead.

Having said that, the abridgement seems well done, except that the chapter starts and ends are meaningless. The book is just one long monologue.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hector Chub
  • 04-09-2010

Good old Secret Police for keeping tabs !

Superb recent history of pre-revolution Stalin, from childhood up to October 1917. Based largely it seems on recently released archival material. Those Russkies kept records on everything and everyone. Stalin is revealed to be a far more interesting and human character from the cold fish terror of 'The Terror' and beyond. I had bought the second volume (The Court of the Red Tsar) first, thinking this is the Stalin I want to know about. Big Mistake which I realised about 10 minutes in. You need to know what comes before the 1930's purging Stalin, indeed what helps explain (as much as one can) the infectious paranoia of those times. The fascinating story of Stalin's early life may help.

The dialogue is fabulous, the narration is superb. Sean Barratt has one of the great documentary voices. Some knowledge of Russian history of this time might be useful, yet the brief sketches of Lenin , Trotsky and other major figures and events are probably enough. This is not a detailed history of Communism, more a tale of a model dictator and how he came to be. The scary thing is, at times you feel you could have liked him !

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  • Darren
  • 15-01-2015

Leaves so much out of book

I read the book along with the listening to audio and it skips a lot from each paragraph. It even has the cheek to skip the last few chapters and briefly summarises the epilogue

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mary Carnegie
  • 18-10-2019

From choir boy to apprentice tyrant.

The book loses a star because it’s abridged which always makes me feel cheated. This is the story of Stalin’s life up to the October Revolution from the marriage of his putative father, Beso, a Georgian cobbler who descended into alcoholism, to his ambitious attractive mother, Keke. Choir boy, seminarian, bank robber, terrorist and revolutionary, ruthless and amoral, Stalin seemed an unlikely successor to the 300 year Romanov dynasty, especially as he wasn’t Russian (neither were they, in truth, as Tsar followed Tsar with increasingly Germanic heredity!)

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  • TeamPalmer
  • 09-01-2019

Sturdy abridgement

Very clear and suitably sober narration. Effective abridgement. Enjoyed the story if not the man and his deeds.

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  • Seayeaitch
  • 17-05-2018

Enthralling, put everything on hold and enjoy.

A tremendous insight and profile of the giant of Marxism that will inform the reader of the events that led through a twisted journey of Stalin’s rise, in put down able, switchgrass off the phone and get carried away to the rise of the revolution.Sean Bennet presents the narrative superbly.

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  • PavLove
  • 30-03-2018

Only if you have nothing more to read

I normally enjoy his works as I've read many. However, this one didn't impress me at all. I like this kinda staff and would like to read more but not this book. It's very superficial and only may come as addition to his other work about Stalin.

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  • ng7
  • 12-12-2017

THRILLING LIFE STORY

The author was overly keen in my opinion to keep pointing out that Stalin was a bad man... every time Stalins actions were admirable or lovable .