January 4, 2005

And in the gardening category, it’s In the Garden With Josef . . .

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In a year-end “best of” column for The Moscow Times, the English language newspaper’s book critic Rebecca Reich notes that most of the 64 “Russia-related” books reviewed by the paper this year were about Josef Stalin, with current President Vladimir Putin “coming in a distant second.” Writes Reich, ” Josef Vissarionovich [Stalin’s real name] figured as the primary focus of five biographical works, made cameo appearances in two novels and loomed in the background of a third, presided over the events of five historical studies, and made life a living hell for the subjects of three personal histories.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives

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