Simon Sebag Montefiore - Stalin - Orion Publishing Group

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    • ISBN:9780297863854
    • Publication date:03 Jun 2010
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    • ISBN:9780752884691
    • Publication date:10 Apr 2006


The Court of the Red Tsar

By Simon Sebag Montefiore

  • Paperback
  • £12.99

The thrilling biography of Stalin - an international bestseller

Winner of the British Book Awards History Book of the Year

Longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize

This thrilling biography of Stalin and his entourage during the terrifying decades of his supreme power transforms our understanding of Stalin as Soviet dictator, Marxist leader and Russian tsar.

Based on groundbreaking research, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals in captivating detail the fear and betrayal, privilege and debauchery, family life and murderous cruelty of this secret world. Written with extraordinary narrative verve, this magnificent feat of scholarly research has become a classic of modern history writing. Showing how Stalin's triumphs and crimes were the product of his fanatical Marxism and his gifted but flawed character, this is an intimate portrait of a man as complicated and human as he was brutal and chilling.

Biographical Notes

Simon Sebag Montefiore is a prizewinning historian whose bestselling books have been published in over forty-five languages. CATHERINE THE GREAT AND POTEMKIN was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize; STALIN: THE COURT OF THE RED TSAR won the History Book of the Year Prize at the British Book Awards; YOUNG STALIN won the Costa Biography Award, LA Times Biography Prize and Le Grand Prix de Biographie; JERUSALEM: THE BIOGRAPHY was a number one bestseller and won the Jewish Book Council's Book of the Year prize; THE ROMANOVS: 1613-1918 was an international bestseller and won the Lupicaia del Terriccio Book Prize. Montefiore is also the author of the acclaimed novels SASHENKA, RED SKY AT NOON and ONE NIGHT IN WINTER, which won the Paddy Power Political Fiction Book of the Year Award. He read history at Cambridge University where he received his PhD, and now lives in London with his wife, the novelist Santa Montefiore, and their two children.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781780228358
  • Publication date: 10 Jul 2014
  • Page count: 752
  • Imprint: W&N
One of the two outstanding books of the year ... the most civilised and elegant chronicle of brutality and ruthlessness I have ever read, its prose cool and clear but never indifferent — Ruth Rendell, Daily Telegraph
Horrific, revelatory and sobering ... triumph of research and should be required reading in Russia. Book of the Year — John Le Carré, Observer
This grim masterpiece, shot through with lashes of black humour ... The personal details are riveting — Antonia Fraser, Mail on Sunday
Fascinating ... [Montefiore] concentrates, as any good historian should, on pushing forward the boundaries of our knowledge of the subject ... [He] provides rich detail of daily life and family relationships in a world of human values turned inside out ... scrupulously fair in the way he describes Stalin's qualities - including his ability to charm, his uncanny grasp of geopolitical issues, his brilliant handling of foreign statesmen and his genuine passion for literature — Antony Beevor, Sunday Times
Masterful and terrifying account of Stalin ... seldom has the picture been put in finer focus than by Sebag Montefiore. It is partly through his diligent interviews with the children of survivors and his admirable combination of history and gossip that one sees the awful banality, the brutal crudity of the men who carelessly sent so many millions to their senseless deaths — Alistair Horne, The Times
This magnificent portrait ... Montefiore has mined the rich veins of recent Russian writing on the Stalin age and of newly opened archives to give us an intimate history ... The stifling, contiguous life of the Soviet elite in and around the Kremlin is wonderfully conveyed, in some of the most striking and literary passages in the book ... A wonderfully rich and vibrant portrait of the Stalinist elite who lived in the shadow of a remarkable and dangerous colossus — Richard Overy, Literary Review
Read it or face social Siberia ... a cross-over success. Academically and intellectually rigorous, it's also a riveting read ... it takes a great writer to make it seem fresh. And Sebag Montefiore certainly does that ... his greatest achievement has been to "humanise" Stalin. Uncle Joe was a mass murderer and a paranoid sociopath. But he was also charming, friendly and flirtatious — 100 Best Things in the World Right Now, GQ Magazine
Grimly brilliant — Andrew Marr, Daily Telegraph
Excellent ... This book is like a vast Russian novel full of characters, colour, terror, passion and treachery ... love affairs, marriages, divorces, imprisonments and killings — Susannah Tarbush, Al-Hayat
Montefiore has managed to get inside the mind of the 20th century's worst mass murderer. What he has found there will affect your view of human nature ... a thoughtful book of first-class scholarship as well as a transfixing narrative ... vividly recreated by Montefiore's caustically witty prose — Andrew Roberts, Daily Telegraph
Its extraordinary revelation of the evil - the complete amorality - at the heart of the dictator's court will change the way historians approach the great historical questions about the Stalinist regime — Orlando Figes, Sunday Telegraph
Montefiore drives his story forward with breathless enthusiasm ... in a work of great importance. Scholars will read it for the valuable new evidence it assembles. Others will enjoy it as a fascinating page-turner and an everyday saga of extraordinary Kremlin folk — Rodric Braithwaite, Financial Times
Gripping and timely ... [Montefiore] had the bright idea of examining the letters, telegrams and diaries of [Stalin's] intimate associates. As a result, this is a book based on extraordinary primary research ... one of the few recent books on Stalinism that will be read in years to come. The devil is in the detail — Robert Service, Guardian
An extraordinary book... he has managed to persuade a whole generation of little old ladies and elderly men - the wives, granddaughters, servants, nieces and nephews of Stalin's henchmen - to give him a series of extraordinary interviews and, in some cases, lend him their hand-written memoirs... For anyone fascinated by the nature of evil - and by the effects of absolute power on human relationships - this book will provide new insights on every page — Anne Applebaum, Evening Standard
Montefiore's STALIN, I should imagine, will be the standard work on this twentieth-century monster for years to come — Jeremy Paxman, Sunday Telegraph
The most revealing account of the inner circles of tyranny since Albert Speer's inside story of Hitler's bunker. Book of the Year — Norman Lebrecht, Evening Standard
Enlivened by sharp pen portraits and grisly anecdotes, Montefiore's study ... was admired for its elegant prose as well as its grotesque cavalcade of monsters — Books of the Year, The Week
Brings alive that many-sided monster ... the first book that has given me grounds for thinking it might be possible to understand how Stalin got away with his enormities — David Pryce-Jones, Spectator
Montefiore's masterful study of Stalin and his entourage provides the best personal portrait to date of the man and his group — Daniel Beer, Jewish Chronicle
Enormously readable and even grimly amusing ... the details of the cruelty and depravity ... are incredible — Miriam Gross, Sunday Telegraph
I'm currently reading Simon Sebag-Montefiore's excellent biography of the Soviet monster [Stalin] 'the Court of the Red Czar' which I heartily recommend — Matthew Gwyther, MANAGEMENT TODAY

Titans of History

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Simon Sebag Montefiore


Russell Miller
Russell Miller

Catherine the Great and Potemkin

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Romanovs

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world's surface. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world's greatest empire? And how did they lose it all?This is the intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Montefiore's gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence and wild extravagance, and peopled by a cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries and poets, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy, from Queen Victoria to Lenin.To rule Russia was both imperial-sacred mission and poisoned chalice: six tsars were murdered and all the Romanovs lived under constant threat to their lives. Peter the Great tortured his own son to death while making Russia an empire, and dominated his court with a dining club notable for compulsory drunkenness, naked dwarfs and fancy dress. Catherine the Great overthrew her own husband - who was murdered soon afterwards - loved her young male favourites, conquered Ukraine and fascinated Europe. Paul was strangled by courtiers backed by his own son, Alexander I, who faced Napoleon's invasion and the burning of Moscow, then went on to take Paris. Alexander II liberated the serfs, survived five assassination attempts, and wrote perhaps the most explicit love letters ever written by a ruler. THE ROMANOVS climaxes with a fresh, unforgettable portrayal of Nicholas and Alexandra, the rise and murder of Rasputin, war and revolution - and the harrowing massacre of the entire family.Written with dazzling literary flair, drawing on new archival research, THE ROMANOVS is at once an enthralling story of triumph and tragedy, love and death, a universal study of power, and an essential portrait of the empire that still defines Russia today.


Legion of the Damned

Sven Hassel
Sven Hassel

Sven Hassel's iconic war novel about the Russian Front.'An extraordinary book, which has captured the attention of all of Europe' - NEW YORK TIMES'LEGION OF THE DAMNED is an incredible picture of totalitarianism, of stupefying injustice ... He is graphic, at times brilliantly so, but never brutal or bitter. He is, too, a first-rate storyteller' - WASHINGTON POSTConvicted of deserting the German army, Sven Hassel is sent to a penal regiment on the Russian Front. He and his comrades are regarded as expendable, cannon fodder in the battle against the implacable Red Army. Outnumbered and outgunned, they fight their way across the frozen steppe...This iconic anti-war novel is a testament to the atrocities suffered by the lone soldier in the fight for survival.Sven Hassel's unflinching narrative is based on his own experiences in the German Army. He began writing his first novel, LEGION OF THE DAMNED in a prisoner of war camp at the end of the Second World War.


A Child Called It

Dave Pelzer
Dave Pelzer


Simon Sebag Montefiore
Simon Sebag Montefiore

The epic story of Jerusalem told through the lives of the men and women who created, ruled and inhabited it.Jerusalem is the universal city, the capital of two peoples, the shrine of three faiths; it is the prize of empires, the site of Judgement Day and the battlefield of today's clash of civilizations. From King David to Barack Obama, from the birth of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to the Israel-Palestine conflict, this is the epic history of 3,000 years of faith, slaughter, fanaticism and coexistence. How did this small, remote town become the Holy City, the 'centre of the world' and now the key to peace in the Middle East? In a gripping narrative, Simon Sebag Montefiore reveals this ever-changing city in its many incarnations, bringing every epoch and character blazingly to life. Jerusalem's biography is told through the wars, love affairs and revelations of the men and women - kings, empresses, prophets, poets, saints, conquerors and whores - who created, destroyed, chronicled and believed in Jerusalem.Drawing on new archives, current scholarship, his own family papers and a lifetime's study, Montefiore illuminates the essence of sanctity and mysticism, identity and empire in a unique chronicle of the city that many believe will be the setting for the Apocalypse. This is how Jerusalem became Jerusalem, and the only city that exists twice - in heaven and on earth.


The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Young Stalin

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Simon Sebag Montefiore

Andrew Roberts

Andrew Roberts took a first in Modern History at Cambridge. He has been a professional historian since the publication of his life of Lord Halifax , The Holy Fox, in 1991, followed by Eminent Churchillians in 1994 . He contributes regularly to the Sunday Telegraph. Lives in Knightsbridge, London, and has two children. His Salisbury won the Wolfson History Prize in 2000. His books include Napoleon and Wellington in 2001, Hitler and Churchill (based on BBC-2 series) in 2003. What Might Have Been (editor) in 2004. His History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900 was published in 2006 and won the Walter Bagehot Prize .

Antony Beevor

Antony Beevor served as a regular officer in the 11th Hussars in Germany. He is the author of Crete - The Battle and the Resistance, which won a Runciman Prize, Paris After the Liberation, 1944-1949 (written with his wife Artemis Cooper), Stalingrad, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hawthornden Prize for Literature, Berlin - The Downfall, which received the first Longman-History Today Trustees' Award, and The Mystery of Olga Chekhova. Stalingrad and Berlin have been translated into twenty-five languages and sold more than two and a quarter million copies between them. His latest work, A Writer at War - Vasily Grossman with the Red Army 1941-1945, is an edition, with his Russian researcher, Dr Luba Vinogradova, of Grossman's wartime notebooks. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres in France, Antony Beevor has also been the chairman of the Society of Authors and is a visiting professor at the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Birkbeck College, University of London. He lives in London and Kent and has a daughter and a son.Go to for more information. Antony Beevor is on Twitter at, and on Facebook at

Ben Wilson

Born in 1980, Ben Wilson's first book was published when he was just twenty-four, and he is one of our best renowned and admirably young historians. He lives in Suffolk.

Danny Baker

Danny Baker is an English comedy writer, journalist, radio DJ and screenwriter. He currently presents daily on BBC London 94.9 and a weekly show on BBC Radio 5 Live.For more, visit Danny Baker's website at and follow him on Twitter at

Deborah Lawrenson

Deborah Lawrenson spent her childhood moving around the world with diplomatic service parents, from Kuwait to China, Belgium, Luxembourg and Singapore. She graduated from Cambridge University and worked as a journalist in London. She is the author of five previous novels, including The Art of Falling, chosen for the prestigious WHSmith Fresh Talent promotion, and Songs of Blue and Gold, inspired by the life of writer-traveller Lawrence Durrell. Deborah is married with a daughter, and lives in Kent. The family spends as much time as possible at a crumbling hamlet in Provence, France, which is the atmospheric setting for The Lantern.Find out more at

Dot May Dunn

Dot May Dunn was born in Derbyshire, the daughter of a miner. In 1951 she joined the newly established NHS as a pre-nursing student at Leicester Royal Infirmary, eventually becoming a Research Fellow at St Bartholomew's London and the London Hospital Medical College. She has four nursing qualifications and 50 years on the 'coal face' behind her. She divides her time between England and France.

Edward Smithies

Edward Smithies spent his earliest years surrounded by the aircraft parts, models of fuselages and wings and blueprints that his father brought home from the aircraft factory were he worked. He lived in London for many years and taught history. He also worked on an oral history of the war at sea.

Gavin Lyall

Gavin Lyall (1932-2003) was born in Birmingham, UK and, after serving as a pilot in the RAF, read English at Cambridge and then worked as a journalist for the Picture Post, the BBC and The Sunday Times. He published his first novel, The Wrong Side of the Sky, in 1961. His other books include The Most Dangerous Game and The Secret Servant. He was married to the writer and journalist Katharine Whitehorn.

Gotz Aly

Gotz Aly is a freelance journalist and historian living in Berlin. He is also the author of Final Solution (Arnold, 1999) and co-author of Cleansing the Fatherland : Nazi Medicine and Racial Hygiene (John Hopkins University Press, 1994).

Heinz Magenheimer

Heinz Magenheimer is one of Austria's most respected historians and commentators. Since 1972 he has been a member of the Academy of National Defence, Vienna, and since 1993 a permanent member of the editorial staff of the Austrian military periodical OMZ. In addition to five books, he has written more than a hundred articles in periodical and compendia on the subjects of military strategy, security politics and the history of warfare.

Helen McCloy

Helen Worrell Clarkson McCloy (1904-1994)Born in New York City, Helen McCloy was educated in Brooklyn, at the Quaker Friends' school, and later studied at the Sorbonne in Paris. From 1927-1932 she worked for Hearst's Universal News Service after which she freelanced as an art critic and contributor to various publications, including theLondon Morning Post. Shortly after her return to the US she published her first novel, Dance of Death, in 1933, featuring her popular series detective-psychologist Basil Willing. The novel Through a Glass Darkly, a puzzle in the supernatural tradition of John Dickson Carr, is the eighth in the Basil Willing series and is generally acknowledged to be her masterpiece. In 1946 McCloy married fellow author Davis Dresser, famed for his Mike Shayne novels. Together they founded Halliday & McCloy literary agency as well as the Torquil Publishing Company. The couple had one daughter, Chloe, and their marriage ended in 1961. In 1950 Helen McCloy became the first woman president of the Mystery Writers of America and in 1953 she was awarded an Edgar by the same organisation for her criticism. In 1987, critic and mystery writer H. R. F. Keating included her Basil Willing title Mr Splitfoot in a list of the 100 best crime and mystery books ever published.