The Last Days of Stalin

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Product Details

Yale University Press
Publish Date
5.1 X 0.8 X 7.7 inches | 0.7 pounds

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About the Author

Joshua Rubenstein is an associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University. He lives in Brookline, MA.


"Convincing . . . fascinating."--Rosemary Sullivan, Wall Street Journal
"Joshua Rubenstein, in his vivid, brisk account, describes the months on each side of Stalin's death to give the reader a sense of the significance of this turning point."--Robbie Millen, Times
"[Stalin's] last days make a dramatic story, and Rubenstein tells it well."--Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Guardian
"Meticulously researched."--Masha Gessen,
"A fascinating work."--Amy Lewonstin, Library Journal
"Intriguing."--David Mikics, Tablet
"Joshua Rubenstein tells a gripping tale of the year around Stalin's death, including revealing previously unknown details of the trial of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee and Stalin's version of the Final Solution, the Doctors' Plot."--Brett M. Rhyne, The Jewish Advocate
"A compact, chilling account."--Harvey Blume, Arts Fuse
"Engaging . . . highly recommended."--D. J. Dunn, Choice
"This book will be most valuable to readers with an existing interest in Soviet history but seeking a detailed narrative of this crucial moment in the history of the dictatorship."--E. Thomas Ewing, Russian Review
"A clear, sober and emotionally powerful narrative that brings to life the last years of Joseph Stalin's rule, showing vividly how the death of the tyrant changed Soviet and international politics and brought relief to millions of his existing and potential victims, and first and foremost the Soviet Jews."--Serhii Plokhy, author of The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine

"Based on a plethora of primary Soviet sources, Rubenstein has produced a persuasive and well-written account of the convoluted time that followed Stalin's death in March 1953. He discusses the complex succession politics in the Kremlin and provides much new information. Rubenstein also explores Eisenhower's and Dulles' disinterest in taking up Churchill's proposals to exploit the 'narrow window of opportunity' to embark on constructive negotiations with Moscow once Stalin had gone. This is an enlightening and important book."--Klaus Larres, author of Churchill's Cold War: The Politics of Personal Diplomacy
"Stalin's death in March 1953 cut short another spasm of blood purges he was planning, but triggered only limited Soviet reforms. To some Westerners it promised an extended period of peace, but others feared it would leave the West even more vulnerable. Joshua Rubenstein's lively, detailed, carefully crafted book chronicles a key twentieth-century turning point that didn't entirely turn, revealing what difference Stalin's death did and didn't make and why."--William Taubman, author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era