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On Stalin's Team:
The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics
Sheila Fitzpatrick

Co-Winner of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, Australian Government Department of Communications and the Arts
2015 Silver Winner in History, ForeWord Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards
Honorable Mention for the 2016 PROSE Award in Government & Politics, Association of American Publishers
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2016

Paperback | 2017 | $22.95 | £18.95 | ISBN: 9780691175775
Hardcover | 2015 | $35.00 | £27.95 | ISBN: 9780691145334
384 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 30 halftones.
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Stalin was the unchallenged dictator of the Soviet Union for so long that most historians have dismissed the officials surrounding him as mere yes-men and political window dressing. On Stalin's Team overturns this view, revealing that behind Stalin was a group of loyal men who formed a remarkably effective team with him from the late 1920s until his death in 1953. Drawing on extensive original research, Sheila Fitzpatrick provides the first in-depth account of this inner circle and their families. She vividly describes how these dedicated comrades-in-arms not only worked closely with Stalin, but also constituted his social circle. Stalin's team included the wily security chief Beria; Andreev, who traveled to provincial purges while listening to Beethoven on a portable gramophone; and Khrushchev, who finally disbanded the team four years after Stalin's death. Taking readers from the cataclysms of the Great Purges and World War II to the paranoia of Stalin's final years, On Stalin's Team paints an entirely new picture of Stalin within his milieu—one that transforms our understanding of how the Soviet Union was ruled during much of its existence.

Sheila Fitzpatrick is professor of history at the University of Sydney and Distinguished Service Professor Emerita at the University of Chicago.


"Though there have been a number of fine studies of Stalin and his henchmen in the past few years, On Stalin's Team offers new insight into the complex group dynamics that sustained his political power for so long."--Rachel Polonsky, Times Literary Supplement

"One of the most novel sections of the book is the chapter on how the ruling group fared without Stalin. Fitzpatrick shows the team managing the post-Stalin transition remarkably well, not only maintaining stability but even launching a raft of reforms. Building on a recent vein of scholarship, she suggests that they were able to do this precisely because they had already consolidated as a group under the dictator."--Yoram Gorlizki, London Review of Books

"A superb group portrait of the dictator's closest lieutenants at a pivotal moment in history."--Joshua Rubenstein, Wall Street Journal

"[On Stalin's Team is] a well-researched study of the social and political lives of the men who supported, encouraged, and abetted Stalin."--Kirkus

"Rich in politics as well as personal intrigue. . . . [W]ell worth reading."--Library Journal, starred review

"Impressive . . . this is a rare and highly accomplished piece of scholarship. . . . Fitzpatrick shows herself to be a master storyteller as well. . . . [Her] innovative approach situates Stalin firmly in his personal milieu for the first time, helps to elucidate how he actually exercised power through his team, and offers a compelling sense of the personalities and relationships at play in the Soviet elite that will prove invaluable in interpreting party and government records via their human context."--Lara Cook, Times Higher Education

"Fitzpatrick's book does not just establish her argument, but also gives a series of wonderful, horrifying and sometimes hilarious insights into what the top Stalinists were actually like."--David Aaronovitch, The Times

More reviews

Table of Contents:

Explanatory Note vii
Glossary ix
Introduction 1
ONE The Team Emerges 15
TWO The Great Break 43
THREE In Power 64
FOUR The Team on View 89
FIVE The Great Purges 114
SIX Into War 143
SEVEN Postwar Hopes 171
EIGHT Aging Leader 197
NINE Without Stalin 224
TEN End of the Road 255
Conclusion 269
Acknowledgments 279
Notes 281
Biographies 317
Bibliography of Works Cited 333
Index 349

Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Sheila Fitzpatrick:

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