Synopses & Reviews
Drawing on recently declassified material from Stalin’s personal archive in Moscow, this is the first attempt by scholars to systematically analyze the way Stalin interpreted and envisioned his world—both the Soviet system he was trying to build and its wider international context. Since Stalin rarely left his offices and perceived the world largely through the prism of verbal and written reports, meetings, articles, letters, and books, a comprehensive analysis of these materials provides a unique and valuable opportunity to study his way of thinking and his interaction with the outside world.
Comparing the materials that Stalin read from week to week with the decisions that he subsequently shaped, Sarah Davies and James Harris show not only how Stalin perceived the world but also how he misperceived it. After considering the often far-reaching consequences of those misperceptions, they investigate Stalin’s contribution to the production and regulation of official verbal discourse in a system in which huge political importance was attached to the correct use of words and phrases..
"Davies and Harris are THE specialists on Stalin's personal archive, which contains the dictator's notes, rough drafts and correspondence. They present a careful study of how Stalin processed information in areas ranging from terror to art, foreign policy to leadership technique, class to cults of personality. This will be the standard scholarly work on Stalin for years to come." - J. Arch Getty, author of Practicing Stalinism: Bolsheviks, Boyars, and the Persistence of Tradition
Drawing on declassified material from Stalins personal archive, this is the first systematic attempt to analyze how Stalin saw his worldboth the Soviet system he was trying to build and its wider international context. Stalin rarely left his offices and viewed the world largely through the prism of verbal and written reports, meetings, articles, letters, and books. Analyzing these materials, Sarah Davies and James Harris provide a new understanding of Stalins thought process and leadership style and explore not only his perceptions and misperceptions of the world but the consequences of these perceptions and misperceptions.
About the Author
Sarah Davies is senior lecturer in history in the Department of History at Durham University. James Harris is senior lecturer in modern European history at the University of Leeds.