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Book Launch: 'Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928,' by Stephen Kotkin (Princeton professor)

  • 10 Dec 2014
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Russia Institute, King’s College London, WC2R 2LS


Registration is closed

Book Launch: 'Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928,' by Stephen Kotkin (Princeton professor)

John Lewis Gaddis, Yale University; author of George F. Kennan: A Life, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Biography:

“In its size, sweep, sensitivity, and surprises, Stephen Kotkin’s first volume on Stalin is a monumental achievement: the early life of a man we thought we knew, set against the worldundefinedno lessundefinedthat he inhabited. It’s biography on an epic scale. Only Tolstoy might have matched it.”

Join us to hear Professor Stephen Kotkin discuss his magnificent new biography that revolutionizes our understanding of Stalin and his world. 

Especially topical in today's world of an ever-evolving Russian state, this is an event not to be missed. After the talk, Professor Kotkin will be signing books, available for purchase at the venue. These will make incredibly thoughtful holiday gifts for the Slavophiles on your list!

Stalin gives an intimate view of the Bolshevik regime’s inner geography of power, bringing to the fore fresh materials from Soviet military intelligence and the secret police. Kotkin rejects the inherited wisdom about Stalin’s psychological makeup, showing us instead how Stalin’s near paranoia was fundamentally political, and closely tracks the Bolshevik revolution’s structural paranoia, the predicament of a Communist regime in an overwhelmingly capitalist world, surrounded and penetrated by enemies. At the same time, Kotkin demonstrates the impossibility of understanding Stalin’s momentous decisions outside of the context of the tragic history of imperial Russia.

The product of a decade of intrepid research, Stalin is a landmark achievement, a work that recasts the way we think about the Soviet Union, revolution, dictatorship, the twentieth century, and indeed the art of history itself.

Tickets: £10
6:30 registration for 7pm talk

Russia Institute, King's College London, WC2R 2LS

About the author:

Professor Stephen Kotkin is the John P. Birkelund '52 Professor in History and International Affairs and the Acting Director, Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Hehas been teaching in the department since 1989.  He holds a joint appointment in the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton.  He is also a Research Scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Professor Kotkin established the Princeton department's Global History initiative and workshop, and teaches the graduate seminar on global history since the 1850s. He served on the core editorial committee of the World Politics, flagship journal in comparative politics.  He founded and co-edited a book series on Northeast Asia that published six volumes.  From 2003 until 2007, he was a member and then chair of the editorial board at Princeton University Press.  From 1996 until 2009 he directed Princeton's Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies.  He has been the vice dean of the Woodrow Wilson School and acting director of the Princeton Institute for International and regional Studies. In 2014-15 he is serving as acting director of what is now Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. Outside Princeton, from 2006 (until taking a break in February 2009) he was the regular book reviewer for the New York Times Sunday Business section.

His latest book is Stalin, vol. I: Paradoxes of Power (Penguin, 2014). His research interests include authoritarianism, geopolitics, global political economy, empire, and modernism in the arts and politics.


  • University of California, Berkeley, M.A., 1983
  • University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., 1988
  • University of Rochester, B.A., 1981

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