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Geoffrey Roberts (1) (1952–)

Forfatter af Stalin's General: The Life of Georgy Zhukov

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Geoffrey Roberts is Professor of History, University College Cork.

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1952-01-18
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Geoffrey Roberts is a leading expert on Soviet history and chose a really interesting take on Stalin’s life with this book. His starting principle seems to be that whatever else Stalin was (e.g., a monster) he was first and foremost an intellectual. He read an enormous amount, marked up hundreds or even thousands of books, and among other things, he read his opponents with great interest — including Kautsky and Trotsky. Roberts seems surprisingly sympathetic to many of Stalin’s criticisms of what he read. He mentions more than once the dictator’s repeated instructions to Soviet writers and editors to tone down the “cult of the personality” stuff. But this modest side of Stalin clashes with reality: the cult of the personality was very real, and if from time to time Stalin warned writers about it, it meant nothing. There was a side of him that clearly encouraged, and perhaps even needed, that adulation. The image Roberts presents of Stalin clashes strongly with the one offered by, for example, Trotsky. Trotsky was fond of pointing out things like Stalin’s inability to learn foreign languages (except for Russian) — he even claimed that Stalin struggled to learn Esperanto, which is probably the easiest language to pick up. Maybe Trotsky underestimated his enemy. In any event, the whole discussion of Stalin as a great editor, a competent literary critic and an under-rated intellectual reminds me of a scene in Mel Brooks’ film, “The Producers”. One of the craziest characters in that film, an unreconstructed Nazi, insists on telling everyone that “what people don’t know about the Fuhrer was that he was a great dancer.”… (mere)
 
Markeret
ericlee | 1 anden anmeldelse | Dec 23, 2023 |
Deși are tendința să vadă mai clar luminile decât umbrele din personajul complex care a fost Jukov, autorul le prezintă pe toate, cu argumente și pro, și contra, și construiește o biografie echilibrată și detaliată, în general foarte obiectivă.
 
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milosdumbraci | 7 andre anmeldelser | May 5, 2023 |
I was quite disappointed in this book since there was really not enough concrete evidence about which books Stalin had in his library and/or had actually read to sustain the author's thesis that Stalin was an intellectual in love with and fascinated by the ideas of Marx and Lenin to such an extent that he allowed himself some excesses out of sheer enthusiasm - 'dizziness due to success' indeed. (That all sounds more like Lea Ypi to me. Nobody would deny that Stalin - like Ypi - had the ability to explain ideas clearly, simply and even engagingly for those of lesser intellectual ability.)

Similarly, calling someone an intellectual implies that they at least subjected what they read to independent thought and critical judgment, and again Roberts does not establish that Stalin got beyond 'ours' v 'theirs' (or 'friendly' v hostile') based on pragmatic considerations. Play is also made of the fact that Stalin removed passages of gross flattery from drafts submitted to him for approval and editing, thus showing that he was modest and realistic. This obviously has little to do with his reading in general, and also raises the question of what might have happened to authors who submitted work without flattery.

On the other hand, he is dismissive of Stalin's early poetic productions in Georgian, which I think were in fact anthologised before there was any idea he might become important...
… (mere)
 
Markeret
priamel | 1 anden anmeldelse | Feb 21, 2023 |
Georgij Zjukov var en man med okuvlig vilja, briljans och grymhet. Han var en av de mest inflytelserika befälhavarna under andra världskriget och spelade huvudrollen vid flera kritiska vändpunkter i kriget. Stalins general är den första heltäckande biografin över den militärhistoriska legenden Zjukov. Med hjälp av källor från nyligen öppnade sovjetiska arkiv och ocensurerade versioner av Zjukovs egna memoarer, har Geoffrey Roberts tecknat ett anmärkningsvärt närgånget porträtt av en man vars liv utspelades bakom en järnridå av officiell sekretess.… (mere)
 
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CalleFriden | 7 andre anmeldelser | Feb 15, 2023 |

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440
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