The intrigue surrounding Stalin’s daughter’s defection from the Soviet Union to the American Embassy in New Delhi is just the beginning of this tale spanning three continents, four husbands, a few lovers and a teenager who didn’t know she was Stalin’s granddaughter until the paparazzi showed up on her front lawn… a true story, thrillingly told in this fast-paced, fascinating biography.

Cokie RobertsNew York Times bestselling author of Founding Mothers, Ladies of Liberty, and Capital Dames

Compassionate and compelling, Sullivan sensitively delivers the intimate, tragic life story of a woman who was Stalin’s only daughter in all its strangeness; from her mother’s suicide in the Kremlin to her defection and her love-affairs; from Oxford England & Princeton USA to impoverished death in Wisconsin—always haunted by Stalin. This is not a political story but a quest for love in the heart of darkness.

Simon Sebag MontefioreBestselling author of Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

Insightful and thoroughly researched.... This excellent and engrossing biography is suitable for anyone interested in Russian history or in Svetlana’s struggle to make a difference in a world that never could separate her from her father.

Library Journal

A biography of haunting fascination portrays its subject as a pawn of historical circumstance who tried valiantly to create her own life..... With great compassion, Sullivan reveals how both sides played her for their own purposes, yet she was a writer first and foremost, a passionate Russian soul who wanted a human connection yet could not quite find the way into the Western heart. The author manages suspense and intrigue at every turn.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Sullivan masterfully employs interviews, Alliluyeva’s own letters, and the contents of CIA, KGB, and Soviet archives to stitch together a coherent narrative of her fractured life… A head-spinning journey as Alliluyeva attempts to escape her father’s shadow without ever fully comprehending the man who cast it.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Stalin's Daughter

About Stalin’s Daughter

The award-winning author of Villa Air-Bel returns with a painstakingly researched, revelatory biography of Svetlana Stalin, a woman fated to live her life in the shadow of one of history’s most monstrous dictators—her father, Josef Stalin.

Born in the early years of the Soviet Union, Svetlana Stalin spent her youth inside the walls of the Kremlin. Communist Party privilege protected her from the mass starvation and purges that haunted Russia, but she did not escape tragedy—the loss of everyone she loved, including her mother, two brothers, aunts and uncles, and a lover twice her age, deliberately exiled to Siberia by her father.

As she gradually learned about the extent of her father’s brutality after his death, Svetlana could no longer keep quiet and in 1967 shocked the world by defecting to the United States—leaving her two children behind. But although she was never a part of her father’s regime, she could not escape his legacy. Her life in America was fractured; she moved frequently, married disastrously, was shunned by other Russian exiles, and ultimately died in poverty in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

With access to FBI, CIA, and Soviet government archives, as well as the close cooperation of Svetlana’s daughter, Rosemary Sullivan pieces together Svetlana’s incredible life in a masterful account of unprecedented intimacy. Epic in scope, it’s a revolutionary biography of a woman doomed to be a political prisoner of her father’s name. Sullivan explores a complicated character in her broader context without ever losing sight of her powerfully human story, in the process opening a closed, brutal world that continues to fascinate us.

Illustrated with photographs.

Watch the PBS Interview with Judy Woodruff on NewsHour: Rosemary Sullivan and Chrese Evans.
Listen to an excerpt from the audiobook of Stalin’s Daughter.
Read “Rosemary Sullivan wins the prestigious 2016 RBC Taylor Prize” at
Watch Rosemary Sullivan talk about Stalin’s Daughter on TVO’s The Agenda.

Recognition for Stalin’s Daughter

  • Winner of the 2016 Plutarch Award, Biographers International Organization
  • Winner of the 2016 RBC Charles Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction
  • Winner of the 2016 BC National Non-Fiction Prize
  • Finalist for the 2016 American PEN /Bograd Weld Award for Biography
  • Finalist for 2016 the National Books Critics Circle Award
  • Winner of the 2015 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Non-fiction
  • One of Newsday’s Best Books of 2015
  • The Daily Mail’s Book of the Year 2015
  • One of The Boston Globe’s Best Books of 2015
  • A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
  • 2016 American Library Association Notable Book
  • One of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Nonfiction Books of 2015
  • One of The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2015
  • One of Washington Post’s Notable Nonfiction Books of 2015
  • One of Minneapolis Public Radio’s Top Nonfiction Picks of 2015
  • A Globe & Mail Bestseller
  • A Maclean’s Bestseller

International Rights

  • Brazil: Globo
  • Bulgaria: IZTOK-ZAPA
  • China: Beijing Imaginist Time Culture Co.
  • Czech Republic: Albatros
  • Denmark: Informations Forlag
  • Estonia: Tänäpaev
  • Finland: Otava
  • Greece: Patakis
  • Israel: Keter
  • Hungary: Europa
  • Japan: Hakusui Sha
  • Norway: Kagge Forlag
  • Poland: Znak
  • Portugal: Temas e Debates
  • Spain: Debate
  • Romania: Corint
  • Russia, Astrel
  • Serbia: Laguna
  • Slovakia: Ikar
  • Sweden: Norstedts
  • The Netherlands: De Geus
  • United Kingdom: Fourth Estate