, March 04, 2011
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In this prequel to 'Court of the Red Tsar', master historian Simon Montefiore reveals the little-known story of Josef Stalin's harsh and often brutal formative years. The level of research is truly impressive: The author has overcome not only the barrier of time, but also Stalin's own efforts to conceal his past. We behold an intelligent child, hardened by the sordid and corrupt conditions of Tsarist Georgia who progresses in turn from street thug to seminarian, prisoner, bank robber, revolutionary, finally emerging as the man poised to become the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union. A book highly recommended for any student of twentieth century history and a brilliant success for Montefiore.