Trying to understand Stalin

**How did Stalin manage to outmaneuver so many **

After reading an interesting, and rather unique, book about Stalin, I just posted a very short review of it, at the Amazon’s website. Here it is, for those who might be interested:

I agree with those who wrote that Montefiore’s voluminous “Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar” is not always easy reading. But it is certainly worthwhile for the light it sheds on relations between Stalin and his close subordinates, those whom he liquidated and those who survived him. Stalin’s methods of domination–both brutal and ideological–are skillfully described. The same applies to personal relations between communist leaders. The Soviet Union was the first country in which the idea of proletarian dictatorship, formulated by Marx, was implemented. That is why all aspects of Soviet history are worth studying. Be aware that the number of characters is unusually large. Fortunately, Stalin’s family tree and the introductory section entitled “List of Characters” should help readers to deal with this problem.

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia)

Sounds like a book worth reading, but I don’t know that I want to get into anything that heavy right now.

To me, it is not so much wanting to understand despots and what makes them tick as much as understanding the little people who gain despotic powers and how it affects them. When one is placed in a position of authority without being trained or coached in responsible use of said power, you can and often do get a person who abuses that power, and the longer he/she in in power the greater the abuse. Much can be taken from the Michigan State University studies of authorative abuse in controlled circumstances.

True for Hitler and true for Stalin. But what about princes who were trained to become kings? Did this always help them to be less abusive?

Edvard Radzinsky’s simply titled Stalin is the benchmark. He is the first historian granted access to secret Soviet files and it reveals his motivations and the fact he was a consummate political strategist until the end.

Kowalski, to me the little princes were raised in arrogance and no regard for the commoner.