This powerful and important book is the second comparative study of Hitler and Stalin: the previous one was Alan Bullock’s magisterial dual biography, which dates to 1991. Unlike Bullock, Overy doesn’t dwell on the individual lives of his subjects. Instead he provides a detailed and nuanced comparative history of the structures and regimes these two notorious dictators created. Chapters are organized thematically and deal with such issues as the seizure of power, the creation of a cult of personality, the use of terror, and the treatment of national or racial minorities in both states. This latter chapter includes the most extensive comparative discussion of the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia I have ever read. This chapter alone is worth the price of the book. Biblio.; illus.; index; notes.
Abraham J. Edelheit is an associate professor of history at Kingsborough Community College (CUNY) and the author, co-author, or editor of eleven books on the Holocaust, Zionism, Jewish and European history, and Military affairs. His most recent publication appeared in Armor magazine, the official journal of the US Army Armor and Cavalry Command.