I cannot say that I have read much of anything that the former Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha has written, but it was almost refreshing to read about one of his some 70 books from the perspective of an Englishman writing for the Guardian online.
Also the picture of the statue of the dictator in the main square, which was pulled down by protesters about 19 years ago brings back memories for me. I was very young then, but I did witness the event at less than 100 meters from it.
Another comment which I appreciated was made by another reader who had this to day about the context of the book, which the review did miss.
Hoxha’s book ‘With Stalin’ came out at a crucial point for the Communist government. A year earlier, it had broken relations with communist China because, according to Hoxha, Beijing had moved away from the Stalinist ideology. Hence, his memoires were more a recofirmation of Hoxha’s devotion to Stalinism on which legitimised his power. The book was meant as a reminder to the people that they needed to stick with the government and put up with the harsh economic times that laid ahead rather than a true representation of what was going on in the country. In this context, the book is a window to Hoxha’s mind rather than on Albania.