Home Catalogue Contact Us
Darwin Books SLAEI Series


Stalin's Doctor, Stalin's Nurse


A Memoir by N. Romano-Petrova


with an Introduction by Alexis Scherbatow Translated from the Russian by Michelle Petroff



About the Book:

    This memoir of N. Petrova, Stalin's nurse, has substantial value because it is based on notes given to her by Dr. Pletnev, a famous heart specialist who was the favorite and trusted doctor of Joseph Stalin. Dr. Pletnev was condemned to death in 1938 during the trial of the "Rightist Trotskyist Bloc," but kept his silence under NKVD tortures, and was exiled to Siberia, never to be heard from again. Shortly before his arrest he handed over to Petrova his notes describing the bloody Stalin era. Petrova also adds important material that she became personally aware of. In 1942, when the Germans captured the military hospital in which Petrova was head nurse, she was able to leave the Soviet Union, although she was afraid to write anything about that period of time before 1952. In this memoir we find intimate details of Stalin's personal life, and the "inside story" that describes his relations with family and close associates, many (or most) of whom he killed or had killed, including his wife.
    Little has been known heretofore about the family life of Soviet leaders from the Bolshevik Revolution to the Second World war. In this book much is revealed about some of the famous people in history who were in close contact with Stalin--people such as Yagoda (Chief of the NKVD), Victor Chernov (Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly), Mayakovsky (the Poet of the Revolution), Maxim Gorky (the writer), Marchal Tukhachevsky, Alexander Poskrebyshev (head of Stalin's personal secretariat), Avely Yenukidze (Stalin's closest friend), and Nadezhda Allilueva (Stalin's wife). The long Introduction by Professor Scherbatow places the events narrated in the memoir in the historical context of the period, and explains the backgrounds and motivations for what transpired.

    This is a haunting work about megalomania, betrayals, the politics of fear, the horrors of life in this brutal period of time, jealousy, survival, and escape (for only a fortunate few).


Publication date: 1984

Size: 6 x 9 (15.2 x 22.9); xxv, 75 pages

ISBN 978-0-940670-22-8  $16.95  (Out of stock indefinitely)