In January 1928 Stalin, the ruler of the largest country in the world, boarded a train bound for Siberia where he would embark upon the greatest gamble of his political life. He was about to begin uprooting and collectivization of agriculture and industry across the entire Soviet Union. Millions would die, and many more would suffer. Where did such great, monstrous power come from? The first of three volumes, the product of a decade of intrepid research, this landmark book offers the most convincing explanation yet of Stalin's power.
Stephen Kotkin has a fair claim to be the greatest living expert on Stalin. He is the author of Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization and Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000. He is Professor of History at Princeton University.