Lenin, Stalin and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe by Robert Gellately - review by Richard Overy

Richard Overy

Twentieth Century Monsters

Lenin, Stalin and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe


Jonathan Cape 720pp £25 order from our bookshop

Are we not almost Stalined and Hitlered out? This reviewer is certainly not the best person to argue the case! Yet over the past few years both dictators have been given the kind of attention usually reserved for pop idols and footballers. As I write, Hitler’s collection of 78s has just been discovered and is front page news (always hard to believe that he could listen to a Mozart or Beethoven violin sonata like the rest of us and still order the mass liquidation of the Jews). Richard Evans, Ian Kershaw, Robert Service, Geoffrey Roberts and Simon Sebag Montefiore have produced monuments to the two dictators that are as up-to-date, informed and fluent as you could wish. 

Robert Gellately knows this and he has chosen to give his account a novel twist. To the conventional duo he has added Lenin. He confesses that colleagues were hesitant when he told them he had decided to do it because Lenin has often been seen as the nice guy to

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