Stalin: A New World Seen through One Man

Stalin: A New World Seen through One Man

Stalin: A New World Seen through One Man

Stalin: A New World Seen through One Man

Excerpt

It was at Gori, a town in Georgia which was really no more than a village, that, over half a century ago, in 1879, a boy named Joseph was born in a hovel whose corners and foundations were made of bricks, with timber walls and a plank roof and with the front door on one side and the cellar door on the other. The surroundings were not very luxurious. Before the house ran an alley paved with rough stones, on the far side of which stood a row of shanties which were a mass of patches and bristled with stovepipes. Through the middle of the alley ran a small stream.

His mother, Catherine, had a beautiful, serious face and black eyes, so black that they seemed to overflow into dark bruises on the skin around them. Recent portraits show us her regular features squarely framed by a black veil, in the old severe manner of Caucasian women of a certain age. His father, Vissarion Djugashvili, was born in the village of Didi-Lilo and was a shoemaker by trade. He worked hard in a boot factory not far from there, at Tiflis, the capital of Georgia. In one of the museums is shown the mean ropeseated stool which gradually wore out beneath his weight. He was a poor man, of very little education; but he was a good man and he sent Joseph, first to the Gori school, a little house shaded by trees with the appearance of a farmhouse, and then to the Seminary at Tiflis. That is to say he did really everything he possibly could do for him.

Then, to use his own words: "I joined the revolutionary . . .

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