Stalin’s Library reviewed in The Spectator

The link between mass-murdering dictators and the gentle occupation of reading and writing books is a curious one, but it definitely exists. Mao was a much- praised practitioner of traditional Chinese poetry; Hitler was widely if haphazardly read, dictated Mein Kampf and was a fan of Karl May’s Wild West stories; and Stalin, as Geoffrey Roberts shows, took books at least as seriously as the purging of foes, real and imagined.