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Books

A decade of famine and purges: the murderous 1930s under Stalin

11 November 2017

9:00 AM

11 November 2017

9:00 AM

He stood five feet seven in his boots — the same height as Napoleon and an inch shorter than Hitler. He had webbed toes, a grey face pitted by smallpox, a stunted arm, soft voice, yellowish eyes and an awkward rolling walk. He swore like a trooper, smoked a pipe, drank the sweet wines of his native Georgia, and was an avid reader of history, novels and Marxist-Leninist theory, marking the pages of the 20,000 books in his library with expletives scrawled with the same coloured crayons with which he signed mass death warrants and international treaties: ‘Rubbish!’, ‘Piss off!’,...

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