As he told numerous people after Nadya's death, Stalin had been a bad husband. Husband and wife were both volatile and unbalanced people -- she may have been schizophrenic, and he was, after all, Stalin.Andrew O'Hehir, writing for Salon, reviews two biographies of Josef Stalin, and tells the tyrant's story himself. There seems nothing inevitable about the Monster of Russia; chance grew his bitter seeds, chance put power in his grasp.
Was Stalin the most evil of men? From this biography, I doubt it. If one in a million adult men is extremely evil, then in a world of 6.5 billion people there must today be at least a thousand men as evil as Stalin was. In all of human history we can probably double that number. Stalin would be lost in the crowd; but most of this group will harm only a few victims. (Imagine a town of them.)
Alas, Stalin had the power to inflict his nature on millions, personally directing more human suffering than perhaps any other of his evil kin.