What a book! I strongly recommend it 1) Interesting details about Stalin during WWII are described in a book which I reviewed recently (see point 3 below). Montefiore focuses on personal relations between Stalin and his "magnats." Most of what he writes is reasonably well documented and extremely intersting. I learned a lot from this book. (By the way, it can now be purchased at amazon.com for a fraction of one dollar--plus the usual shipping charge of four dollars. This price refers for "used" books.) 2) Below is my short review (as posted at amazon.com yesterday), for those who might be interested. Do not miss reading reviewed posted by other readers, long before me. 3) I agree with those who wrote that Montefiore's voluminous "Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar" is not always easy reading. But it is certainly worthwhile for the light it sheds on relations between Stalin and his close subordinates, those whom he liquidated and those who survived him. Stalin's methods of domination--both brutal and ideological--are skillfully described. The same applies to personal relations between communist leaders. The Soviet Union was the first country in which the idea of proletarian dictatorship, formulated by Marx, was implemented. That is why all aspects of Soviet history are worth studying. Be aware that the number of characters is unusually large. Fortunately, Stalin's family tree and the introductory section entitled "List of Characters" should help readers to deal with this problem. Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia) .