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Stalin's Daughter
Cover of Stalin's Daughter
Stalin's Daughter
The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva
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Stalin's Daughter is a work of narrative non-fiction on a grand scale, combining popular history and biography to tell the incredible story of a woman fated to live her life in the shadow of one of...
Stalin's Daughter is a work of narrative non-fiction on a grand scale, combining popular history and biography to tell the incredible story of a woman fated to live her life in the shadow of one of...
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  • Stalin's Daughter is a work of narrative non-fiction on a grand scale, combining popular history and biography to tell the incredible story of a woman fated to live her life in the shadow of one of history's most monstrous dictators.

    Svetlana Stalina, who died on November 22, 2011, at the age of eighty-five, was the only daughter and the last surviving child of Josef Stalin. Beyond Stalina's controversial defection to the US in a cloak-and-dagger escape via India in 1967, her journey from life as the beloved daughter of a fierce autocrat to death in small-town Wisconsin is an astonishing saga.

    Publicly she was the young darling of her people; privately she was controlled by a tyrannical father who dictated her every move, even sentencing a man she loved to ten years' hard labour in Siberia. Svetlana burned her passport soon after her arrival in New York City and renounced both her father and the USSR. She married four times and had three children. Her last husband was William Wesley Peters, architect Frank Lloyd Wright's chief apprentice, with whom she lived at Taliesin West, Wright's desert compound in Arizona. In 1984, she returned to the Soviet Union, this time renouncing the US, and then reappeared in America two years later, claiming she had been manipulated by her homeland. She spoke four languages and was politically shrewd, even warning in the late '90s of the consequences of the rise to power of former KGB officer Vladimir Putin. A woman shaped and torn apart by her father's legacy, Svetlana Stalina spent her final years as a nomad, shuttling between England, France and the US.

    In her research for Stalin's Daughter, Rosemary Sullivan had the full co-operation of Svetlana's American daughter, Olga. Rosemary interviewed dozens of people who knew Svetlana, including family and friends in Moscow and the CIA agent who was in charge of moving her from India when she defected. She also drew on family letters and on KGB, CIA, FBI, NARA and British Foreign Office files.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • ROSEMARY SULLIVAN has written poetry, short fiction, biographies, literary criticism and reviews, and has edited numerous anthologies. Shadow Maker, her biography of Gwendolyn MacEwen, won the Governor General's Award, the UBC President's Medal for Canadian Biography and the Toronto Book Award. She has also written biographies of Margaret Atwood and Elizabeth Smart, and the personal memoir The Guthrie Road. Her books include the critically acclaimed Villa Air-Bel, Labyrinth of Desire and Memory-Making, as well as The Space a Name Makes, which won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. A professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, Sullivan has been awarded Guggenheim, Camargo and Trudeau Fellowships. In addition, she is a recipient of the Lorne Pierce Medal, awarded by the Royal Society of Canada, for her contribution to Canadian literature and culture. Rosemary Sullivan is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 6, 2015
    Svetlana Alliluyeva (1926–2011), Stalin’s only daughter, lived an almost impossible life at the edges of 20th-century history. Poet and biographer Sullivan (Villa Air-Bel) masterfully employs interviews, Alliluyeva’s own letters, and the contents of CIA, KGB, and Soviet archives to stitch together a coherent narrative of her fractured life. Its first act—Sullivan depicts her lonely existence as the motherless “princess in the Kremlin”—is remarkable enough, but as Alliluyeva slowly came to understand the extent of her father’s cruelty, she began to resent the U.S.S.R. and her role in its mythology, abandoning her two children and defecting to America in 1967. In her startling second life, Alliluyeva made a fortune by publishing her memoir, only to lose it through a disastrous marriage orchestrated by Frank Lloyd Wright’s widow. Alliluyeva also formed and dissolved countless friendships as she moved nomadically around America and England, even briefly returning to the U.S.S.R., before settling in Wisconsin to live out the rest of her days in anonymity. Readers shouldn’t expect insight into Stalin’s psyche—he was just as mysterious and mercurial to his family as he is to historians—but Sullivan takes them on a head-spinning journey as Alliluyeva attempts to escape her father’s shadow without ever fully comprehending the man who cast it.

  • Library Journal Insightful and thoroughly researched. . . . This excellent and engrossing biography is suitable for anyone interested in Russian history or in Svetlana's struggle to make a difference in a world that never could separate her from her father.
  • Booklist (starred review) Sullivan draws on previously secret documents and interviews with Svetlana's American daughter, her friends, and the CIA 'handler' who escorted her to the U.S. for riveting accounts of her complicated life.
  • New York Times Book Review Sullivan tells a nuanced story that, while invariably sympathetic, nonetheless allows readers the freedom of their own interpretations. The complex and tragic figure that emerges offers an extraordinary glimpse into one of the grimmest chapters of the past century.

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    HarperCollins Canada
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Stalin's Daughter
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The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva
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The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva
Rosemary Sullivan
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