Oleg Gordievsky

The Great Terroriser

Stalin and His Hangmen: An Authoritative Portrait of a Tyrant and Those Who Served Him


Viking 522pp £20 order from our bookshop

DEFINING THE ESSENCE of this impressive tome by Donald Rayfield is relatively simple: it’s a biography of Josif Stalin and a history of the reign of terror in Russia after the Communist takeover of power in 1917. It certainly outdoes all the numerous other works on the subject that have appeared, especially those published during the last three to four years, in the quality of the raw material and in the range of sources (including recently released Moscow archives, private letters, memoirs, etc), as well as in its new ‘take’ on a number of questions of Soviet history.

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