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

The first chronicle of Stalin's inner political and social circle—from a leading Soviet historian


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Sep 15, 2015
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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.

Awards and Recognition

  • 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