This is one of the few biographies I've ever read, and it left me wanting more. Who knew Russian history could be so interesting? (many people, I know, but that particular truth was kept from me until I saw this book in the bargain bin at a book shop) What I liked the most about “Young Stalin” was the attempt to portray the man as a human being, with all the complexity that such a title entails. He had childhood friends, two wives he loved and neglected, a couple of flawed parents and a history of diseases that marked his face and left one of his arms useless. He rejected religion, but felt that Marxism came before anything else, even family. He also loved to read, wrote beautiful poems, and sang very well. It’s easy to think of men like Stalin as one-dimensional monsters who dedicate every breath to the complete destruction of all living things, but the truth is that they are humans, just like us. It was very interesting to see how “Young Stalin” presented the good and the bad of Stalin’s character, and while it didn’t make me feel any sympathy for his cause, it gave me a new understanding of the Bolshevik revolution, and of the way that Stalin took advantage of the moment to rise to power, and built a totalitarian empire. (Oh! and he was short too, about 5 ft, 6 in, or something O_O) The one thing that slowed me down a bit was the difficulty trying to keep track of all the names (in all their variations) that are mentioned in the book. I had to get a notebook and write everything down, for future reference and to not get lost. But now that I’m in the middle of “Court of the Red Tsar” it’s coming in handy.