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Russian autocrat from the czarist rubble

Serge Schmemann 

STALIN Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 Stephen Kotkin Penguin Press 949 pages; $40 Readers plunging into Stephen Kotkin's Stalin: Paradoxes of Power expecting a detailed dissection of the cobbler's son and seminarian from Georgia who evolved into the monster called Stalin may be disconcerted to find that, as a boy called Iosif Dzhugashvili (Jughashvili in this book), he plays a relatively minor role in early chapters. The narrative focuses largely on the disintegration of czarist Russia. What we do learn about the life of Soso, as Stalin's family referred to him, ...

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First Published: Sun, January 18 2015. 22:25 IST