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Winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Non-Fiction A New York Times Notable Book of 2015 A painstakingly researched, revelatory biography of Svetlana Stalin, a woman fated to live her life in the shadow of one of history’s most monstrous dictators – her father, Josef Stalin.
You wouldn’t believe it, but . . .James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, grew up mute.Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.Albert Einstein was bullied mercilessly in school.Beethoven’s mom almost aborted him.Life takes the strangest sharp turns—and sometimes, U-turns. Robert Petterson—popular speaker, storyteller, and author—has been a student for his entire life of what God is teaching us through those real-life U-turns. In this book, he compiles 365 amazing stories that teach lessons you won’t easily forget. Each entry is written in the rest-of-the-story style popularized by Paul Harvey. With The One Year Book of Amazing Stories, you’ll marvel at how God has used the lives of these ordinary people to change the course of human history.
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As the Cold War gripped the world with fear of espionage and nuclear winter, everyday Wisconsinites found themselves embroiled in the struggle. For decades, the state's nuclear missiles pointed to the skies, awaiting Soviet bombers. Joseph Stalin's daughter sought refuge in the small town of Richland Center. With violence in Vietnam about to peak, a cargo ship from Kewaunee sparked a new international incident with North Korea. Manitowoc was ground zero for a Sputnik satellite crash, and four ordinary Madison youths landed on the FBI's most wanted list after the Sterling Hall Bombing. Local author and chairman of the Midwest Chapter of the Cold War Museum Chris Sturdevant shares the tales of the Badger State's role in this titanic showdown between East and West.
A poignant biography of Jacob Davidovitch Sudermann, a teacher and artist from a Russian Mennonite community who, like so many others, fell victim to the bloodthirsty paranoia of the Stalinist purges and died in a Siberian gulag in 1937. Sketches from Siberia is pieced together from letters, sketches, and paintings done by Sudermann himself during his imprisonment as well as the unpublished memoir of his sister Anna. It was Anna and other family members that brought these documents with them when they immigrated to Canada in the late forties. This important biography also serves as a valuable cultural history of the plight of the Russian Mennonite community. At once moving and chilling, it is a story that shows the strength that lies at the heart of kindness, the light that outlives the darkness. A timely story even eighty years after Sudermann’s death, it reminds us of the plight of displaced communities around the world today that are struggling to survive.
Pulitzer Prize-finalist Stephen Kotkin has written the definitive biography of Joseph Stalin, from collectivization and the Great Terror to the conflict with Hitler's Germany that is the signal event of modern world history In 1929, Joseph Stalin, having already achieved dictatorial power over the vast Soviet Empire, formally ordered the systematic conversion of the world’s largest peasant economy into “socialist modernity,” otherwise known as collectivization, regardless of the cost. What it cost, and what Stalin ruthlessly enacted, transformed the country and its ruler in profound and enduring ways. Building and running a dictatorship, with life and death power over hundreds of millions, made Stalin into the uncanny figure he became. Stephen Kotkin’s Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941 is the story of how a political system forged an unparalleled personality and vice versa. The wholesale collectivization of some 120 million peasants necessitated levels of coercion that were extreme even for Russia, and the resulting mass starvation elicited criticism inside the party even from those Communists committed to the eradication of capitalism. But Stalin did not flinch. By 1934, when the Soviet Union had stabilized and socialism had been implanted in the countryside, praise for his stunning anti-capitalist success came from all quarters. Stalin, however, never forgave and never forgot, with shocking consequences as he strove to consolidate the state with a brand new elite of young strivers like himself. Stalin’s obsessions drove him to execute nearly a million people, including the military leadership, diplomatic and intelligence officials, and innumerable leading lights in culture. While Stalin revived a great power, building a formidable industrialized military, the Soviet Union was effectively alone and surrounded by perceived enemies. The quest for security would bring Soviet Communism to a shocking and improbable pact with Nazi Germany. But that bargain would not unfold as envisioned. The lives of Stalin and Hitler, and the fates of their respective dictatorships, drew ever closer to collision, as the world hung in the balance. Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941 is a history of the world during the build-up to its most fateful hour, from the vantage point of Stalin’s seat of power. It is a landmark achievement in the annals of historical scholarship, and in the art of biography.

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