Get a free audiobook

Stalin, Volume II

Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941
Written by: Stephen Kotkin
Narrated by: Paul Hecht
Length: 49 hrs and 44 mins
5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize finalist Stephen Kotkin continues his definitive biography of Stalin, from collectivization and the Great Terror through to the coming of the conflict with Hitler's Germany that is the signal event of modern world history.

When we left Stalin at the end of Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928, it was 1928, and he had finally climbed the mountaintop and achieved dictatorial power of the Soviet empire. The vastest peasant economy in the world would be transformed into socialist modernity, whatever it took. What it took, or what Stalin believed it took, was the most relentless campaign of shock industrialization the world has ever seen.

This is the story of the five-year plans, the new factory towns, and the integration of an entire system of penal labor into the larger economy. With the Great Depression throwing global capital into crisis, the Soviet Union's New Man looked like nothing so much as the man of the future. As the shadows of the '30's deepen, Stalin's drive to militarize Soviet society takes on increasing urgency, and the ambition of Nazi Germany becomes the predominant geopolitical reality he faces when Hitler claims that communism is a global "Judeo-Bolshevik" conspiracy to bring the Slavic race to power.

But just because they're out to get you doesn't mean you're not paranoid. Stalin's paranoia is increasingly one of the most horrible facts of life for his entire country. Stalin's obsessions drive him to violently purge almost a million people, including military leadership, diplomatic corps, and intelligence apparatus, to say nothing of a generation of artistic talent. And then came the pact that shocked the world and demoralized leftists everywhere: Stalin's pact with Hitler in 1939, the carve-up of Poland, and Stalin's utter inability to see Hitler's buildup to the invasion of the USSR.

Yet for all that, in just 12 years of total power, Stalin has taken this country from a peasant economy to a formidable modern war machine that rivaled anything else in the world. When the invasion came, Stalin wasn't ready, but his country would prove to be prepared. That is a dimension of the Stalin story that has never adequately been reckoned with before, and it looms large here. Stalin: Waiting for Hitler: 1929-1941 is, like its predecessor, nothing less than a history of the world from Stalin's desk. It is also, like its predecessor, a landmark achievement in the annals of its field and in the biographer's art.

©2017 Stephen Kotkin (P)2017 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    8
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No reviews are available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Benjamin Casey
  • 2018-06-22

If you want the almost literal play by play account

Overall —-If you are already knowledgeable of other parts of USSR history and want a detailed account of this time period (29-41) this is your book. Be warned , this book is heavy on facts and is not in a narrative format (Tuchman or Beevor style ). What it does do is hit you with so many facts that you paint your own detailed picture of events . I feel like I hung out in the “Little Corner” and came to grasp a rich knowledge of this time period . So what I basically mean is I’m a history teacher and this kind of book is my cup of tea. But I would probably not recommend this book to any of my 11th grade students who might have a passing interest in the subject where this book will really “spark” their interest . You want to read this book ,if like me , you just have a thirst for deeper knowledge of this time period .



What you will learn ——This book has a rhythm to it that, if you can , you can really ride with to eventually come away in the end with an extremely well rounded knowledge of Stalin/USSR (is there really a difference)?

I came into this book with a lot of Soviet WWII-1989 knowledge . If you are like me , you always heard That in Soviet WWII history Stalin conducted a truly massive purge of Officers just before the war and as we all know it had some real exquisite outcomes for the Red Army in 1941. So basically I read this book because, what the hell were the purges all about ? This book will give you a vivid and detailed picture of how this horror movie quality shit went down .

You also get a very good insight into Soviet culture and how Stalin basically controlled all aspects of it . The author made a profound point that that the Soviet Central Government was more than just that , it was Wall Street , and Hollywood, and the newspapers , and the books , and the school lessons . And , if you do not already know this , Stalin in this time period could honestly declare “I am the State” . The dude micromanaged the USSR to levels I never considered . Stalin controlled virtually everything , and everyone .


The author also did a tremendous job of covering the build up to WWII up until June 22 41’, from the often unconsidered Soviet point of view AKA Stalin . You may have always wondered the exact details of these questions :


-Why exactly did the Soviets want Finland? What was the Winter War?

-How did the collectivization of farming and agriculture actually go ?

-How did Stalin choose who to purge ?

- how were Soviet forces deployed in June 1941?

-How did that little weezle Hitler surprise attack the USSR? What the hell was Stalin thinking ?

-What were all those 1930s border clashes with the Japanese in Manchuria all about?

- How did Stalin react to Germany’s first round K.O of France ?

- What did Stalin want out of the brewing conflicts and early stages of WWII? Expansion or peace ?


I could write more but maybe that sparked your Interests.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 2018-02-04

A Mind Altering Achievement

A Mind Altering Achievement (My Mind; Professor Kotkin's achievement): 'Cannot recommend this book more highly.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul in Towson, MD
  • 2018-08-09

Started a bit slow ... then grabs

As reviewers of the print version noted, this volume is chronological, which means that conceptually distinct events are often juxtaposed in the narrative. It seemed odd at first, but as events progressed, it worked. Details of Stalin’s collectivizations and accompanying famines, subsequent purges and then his actions leading up to the Nazi invasion in 1941 are meticulous detailed, horrifying, and engrossing. The author makes his case that Stalin was motivated by a combination of twisted ideology and personal paranoia and insecurity. I look forward to volume 3.

Narration is good — occasionally the narrator breaks up sentences in the wrong place.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Good Morning London
  • 2018-03-04

Would Be Riveting if Better Read

This superb narrative is poorly served by the reader whose monotone blunts the impact of a story of high drama and global consequence. At times I had to replay portions because the narrator’s delivery had put me in a daze so I’d missed significant observations or events. The material in the book itself is essential to understanding one of history’s most diabolical men and how a nation could succumb to authoritarianism.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • kay
  • 2018-09-07

amazing

The story is well told and ,at least I feel , objective.
Stalin , not forgetting the autroceties, save Europe. saved the world.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dana
  • 2018-08-22

Superb

Masterful and fascinating look at power. Prof. Kotkin again shows how biography and history can be one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kristen
  • 2018-06-29

A Brilliant Biography of Stalin & the Soviet Regime

This is an utterly brilliant, even handed and well written biography of the late despot. Though you could also call it a comprehensive biography of the Soviet regime as well from 1929 - 1941. This is definitely not for those new to the subject, as it requires a lot of background knowledge. Yet for those in the know, it is stuffed full of both political and personal knowledge of Stalin that had never been brought to light prior. I wait patiently for volume three.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stephen J
  • 2018-04-10

Excellent Scholarship

An amazing text, in every respect, and well read, which is impressive given the number of foreign names and terms.
NOT for casual readers, but the depth means you do not need much background knowledge.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Diana
  • 2019-10-02

A great continuation

In this volume you see Stalin hold on to power and grapple with WWII. To truly understand what Russia's motivations are now, this book is important in understanding that.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-08-22

incredibly detailed

never read such a book with so much detailed info on Russia and stalin .. a must for any history buff who wants to know all the in's and out's of Russia and stalin during this period