TARP No. 5: ‘Stalin’s Daughter’ by Rosemary Sullivan


Who? Rosemary Sullivan, a mild-mannered Canadian historian from the now-times.

What? A biography of Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva who, as you can imagine, led a mad one.

When? It’s a newbie.

How? In one long straight line, though somehow lacking a sense of thoroughness.

Why? The question rather is, should I share my thoughts on this? For shame, I only read the parts useful for my research, and skipped the rest. It’s true. Is this a reflection of the book’s flat and often glib prose? Very possibly. Is it a reflection of my laziness? Quite probably. Do I have any right to share my incomplete, uninformed thoughts on what is, at its core, a well-researched if not tediously-presented historical biography? Almost certainly not. Though Sullivan’s clean, well-rendered style lacks personality, her intimacy with the subject and ability to juggle the varying personas that occupied Svetlana Alliluyeva are done just fine. They are done just fine, and only someone who has persevered with the text in all its long-ass glory can animate themselves on the subject any further.

15 January 2017

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