Stalin: History In An Hour

Arguably no person in history had such a direct and negative impact on the lives of so many as Joseph Stalin. Under the Red Tsar terror knew no limits, it did not discriminate; no one was safe, no institution, no single town or village was immune. Yet, following his death in 1953, Stalin was deeply mourned. He had ‘received the country with a wooden plough, and left it with a nuclear missile shield’. And no-one else, some claimed, could have led the Soviet Union to victory in the Second World War.

So who was Joseph Stalin, what was his role during the Russian Revolution; how did he come to power, what made him such a destructive tyrant, and how did he impose his will on the Soviet Union for so long?

This, by Rupert Colley, is Stalin in an hour…

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Also available as an audio download.


  1. The Young Stalin
  2. Stalin the revolutionary
  3. Revolutions and Civil War
  4. Stalin, Lenin and Trotsky
  5. Collectivization
  6. Five-Year Plans and the Congress of Victors
  7. Kirov and the Great Terror
  8. Stalin’s War
  9. The Last Years
  10. Stalin’s historiography
  11. Stalin the Man
  12. De-Stalinization

Readers’ reviews:

“Stalin is yet another fine condensed retelling of history by Rupert Colley.”

Arguably better for that than a standard, detailed book: I am impressed. Its brevity is a massive advantage. Despite its brevity, I did not feel that I was reading a dumbed down version – not at all. I am actually pleased that I bought this rather than a full-length book. I read this book over a weekend. It held my interest – I did not find it at all boring. On the contrary, I found it very interesting. I was impressed that, even when a chapter ended with Stalin’s death, I was only 60% of the way through the book. “What follows?” I wondered. The answer was three very interesting chapters (‘Stalin’s Historiography’, ‘Stalin the Man’ and ‘De-Stalinisation’) and two appendices – ‘Key Players’ and ‘Stalin Timeline’. Those chapters reinforced what I had already learned from the book and therefore aided my learning. The structure of the book, therefore, is in my opinion excellent.”