There are questions being thrown at you all the time as Amis works through the war years and the final chapter of Stalin’s life. Was he a madman? Deluded failing to accept reality? Was he a coward or a fighter? Did he really understand that some of those old communists around him understood it was all a lie?
Most of the answers are given by Amis who uses numerous sources to back up his assertions but of course this is history and there are always different interpretations.
Bullet points between pages 170 – 230
* Stalin purged through the army at such a high profile rate that it was clear to everyone in Europe that Russia would potentially not be in a position to defend itself if it was attacked
* But when the war does start Stalin is paralysed and the question of his strength of character is called into question and despite him being described by Churchill as a great leader there were millions of lives wasted as Stalin worked out how to win
* He went back on certain policies realising that people would not lay down their lives for socialism so religion and ranks in the army along with all of the awards and military honours reappeared but the purges and prison sentences continued
* Amis then widens it to look at the impact Stalin had on writers with Gorky being compromised and then destroyed by the system along with other poets and writers that were killed for having talent
* Another terror was coming just before Stalin died with the enemy of Hitler ironically picking up where he had left off and starting an anti-Jewish campaign that was honing in on doctors just around the time Stalin died