Between 1925 and 1936 - a dramatic period of transformation within the Soviet Union - Josef Stalin wrote frequently to his trusted friend and political colleague Viachestav Molotov, Politburo member, Chairman of the USSR Council of Commissars and minister of foreign affairs. In these letters, Stalin mused on political events, argued with fellow Politburo members and issued orders. The more than 85 letters collected in this volume constitute a historical record of Stalin's thinking-both personal and political and throw light on the way he controlled the government, plotted the overthrow of his enemies and imagined the future. This formerly top secret correspondence was once housed in Soviet archives. The letters reveal Stalin in many different and dramatic situations: fighting against party rivals like Trotsky and Bukharin; trying to manoeuvre in the rapids of the Chinese revolution; negotiating with the West; insisting on the completion of all-out collectivisation and ordering the execution of scapegoats for economic failures. They provide information about the Soviet Union's party-state leadership, about party politics and about Stalin himself as an administrator, as a Bolshevik and as an individual.