Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan

This book is the biography of Svetlana Alliluyeva, the only child of Russian dictator Josef Stalin. It follows the story of her life, beginning with her childhood growing up in the Kremlin, and all the way to her death in 2011. It tells the extraordinary tale of a woman who despite her father’s lofty position, endured many of the same trials and hardships as the common Russian people.

As Svetlana grew up she began to realize that her father was not the kind man she thought he was, relatives and friends were imprisoned and by the age of twenty five the loving father she remembered from her childhood had turned into the cold and tyrannical man the rest of the world already knew. Two children and three failed marriages later Svetlana defected to the United States hoping to escape of her father’s name. However despite all her efforts Svetlana could not escape her birthright.

Though Svetlana moved often, both in the United States and England, even defecting back to Russia for a short time, the dark specter of her father followed her throughout her life. In the end, Svetlana Alliluyeva the princess of the Kremlin died Lana Peters of Wisconsin and though she was penniless, she had come to accept that she would always be thought of not as Svetlana, but as Stalin’s daughter.

Many people had no idea that Josef Stalin had a daughter (incidentally neither did the Americans when she first defected), and most of the accounts that you read of Stalin are political in nature. This book is fascinating because it lets you see Stalin from an entirely different view point, through the eyes of his own child, while still making it abundantly clear the Svetlana is not her father but her own person. The author writes in a manner that engages the reader and makes them feel as though they are beside Svetlana throughout her life. The reviewer thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in Russia or history in general.

No comments:

Post a Comment