|Pages/Publication Date:||741 / 2015|
(Shortlisted for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography and the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography, and named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, Boston Globe, and the San Francisco Chronicle) Born in 1926, Svetlana Alliluyeva grew up in the Kremlin as her father Josef Stalin's power soared; she died 85 years later, alone and penniless in rural Wisconsin. Here the biographer of Margaret Atwood and Elizabeth Smart explores the many lives of Stalin's daughter, creating a riveting portrait of a woman who would travel halfway around the world fleeing her birthright. Svetlana lost her mother to suicide, while her father's merciless purges claimed relatives and even her lover, exiled to Siberia. After Stalin's death Svetlana left her children behind and defected to America, where she married Frank Lloyd Wright's apprentice Wesley Peters; still, she could not escape the emotional and psychological damage her father had wrought.
"[Rosemary] 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."—NYTBR
"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."—Booklist (starred review)