Kimmo Rentola’s HOW FINLAND SURVIVED STALIN (Yale UP) Book Launch in London! Now published in English!

In London, on Thursday, November 2nd, we celebrated the UK launch of Professor Kimmo Rentola’s book HOW FINLAND SURVIVED STALIN: From Winter War to Cold War, 1939-1950, beautifully published by Yale University Press in the UK and US. Originally published in Finland by Otava in 2016, the English language edition is available on November 14th throughout the world. Rights have been previously sold to Rebis in Poland, to Papadopoulos Publishers in Greece, and Äripäev in Estonia.

Media, historians, and other professionals were gathered at the Finnish Ambassador’s Residence at Kensington Palace Gardens to learn more about Finland’s history, from Winter War to Cold War. Yale University Press edition is an updated edition, translated by Richard Robinson, and a dramatic and timely account of Stalin’s failed invasion of Finland in 1939 and the decade of wars and fraught relations that followed, written by Kimmo Rentola, PhD, historian and professor emeritus of political history. Publisher Julian Loose at Yale UP said:

“I am thrilled to publish Kimmo Rentola’s important work on Finland and Stalin. As the leading scholar on Soviet-Finnish relations, his intimate understanding of the intelligence history during this crucial period makes for a uniquely fascinating and revelatory read. And of course this story has huge resonance at the present time, with Finland joining NATO and the parallels between the Winter War and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.” 
 Julian Loose, Editorial Director Trade & Academic, Yale University Press London

Warmest thanks to Ambassador Jukka Siukosaari and his excellent team for hosting the book launch event in collaboration with Yale University Press and Elina Ahlback Literary Agency. We also thank FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange for kindly supporting the event. Congratulations, Kimmo Rentola and Yale University Press!

We are delighted to share praise and endorsements for Kimmo Rentola’s HOW FINLAND SURVIVED STALIN:

This is a pioneering work on Soviet-Finnish relations in the critical period between the Winter War and the death of Stalin. Using archives around the world, Rentola explores in stunning detail the complex story of Finnish survival.
 Norman M. Naimark, author of Stalin and the Fate of Europe

There is no other book like this one. Rentola treats Stalin as a serious strategist and demonstrates how pragmatic, flexible and ruthless he could be.”
– Ronald Grigor Suny, author of Stalin: Passage to Revolution

No one is better equipped than Kimmo Rentola to tell the extraordinary story of Finland’s relations with Stalin and the Soviets. His penetrating insight, flawless judgement and matchless command of Finnish and Russian sources have produced a masterpiece.”
– Geoffrey Roberts, author of Stalin’s Library

A masterfully-written and elegant work. Rentola’s precise and compact narration deepens and widens the understanding of Finland’s fateful years.
– Lauri Jäntti Prize Jury

Download the materials for HOW FINLAND SURVIVED STALIN here!

HOW FINLAND SURVIVED STALIN Yale UP editions at the Finnish Ambassador’s Residence.
© Elina Ahlbäck / Ahlback Agency

Kimmo Rentola presenting HOW FINLAND SURVIVED STALIN.
© Elina Ahlbäck / Ahlback Agency

Elina Ahlbäck and Julian Loose with the Yale University Press team.
© Embassy of Finland in London

How Finland Survived Stalin: From Winter War to Cold War, 1939-1950

Kimmo Rentola

A meticulously researched insight into critical points in the history of relations between Finland and the Soviet Union

A dramatic and timely account of Stalin’s failed invasion of Finland in 1939, and the decade of wars and fraught relations that followed.

Professor Kimmo Rentola explores Stalin’s invasion of Finland in the Winter War, and the decade of fraught Soviet-Finnish relations that followed, including Finland’s exit from World War Two and a possible coup in 1948. This is a dramatic reconstruction of the Nordic republic’s unlikely survival, at a time when its very existence was at stake.

How did Finland evade Joseph Stalin’s crosshairs three times? Did Stalin have a special relationship with Finland and the Finns? Why didn’t he continue the Soviet onslaught on Finland during the Winter War in 1940? Why did the dictator back down from his aspirations and demands towards Finland during the peace negotiations in 1944? Why did 1948 remain the year of an unfulfilled coup in Finland? The answer lies in the relations between Finland and Russia which remain highly timely to this day.

Joseph Stalin has been one of the individuals with the most influence on the history of independent Finland. There are few who have made so many far-reaching decisions as Stalin: he decreed the beginning and the end of the Winter War, the Moscow Armistice of 1944 that ended the Continuation War was signed with his authorization, and when, in 1948, it was time to decide whether Finland would become a ‘people’s republic’ or not, he initially pushed forward but eventually backed down. All of these decisions can be seen as pivotal to the fate of Finland, its society, its independence, the life and death of the Finnish people.

Otava, 2016, 240 pp.

English edition

FINLAND: Otava (orig.)
ESTONIA: Äripäev
GREECE: Papadopoulos Publishing
WORLD ENGLISH: Yale University Press

About author

Kimmo Rentola

Kimmo Rentola (b. 1953), PhD, is a historian and professor emeritus of political history, at the University of Turku from 2006 to 2014 and at the University of Helsinki since 2014. In his research, Rentola has specialized in the history of the Cold War, the relationships between Finland and the Soviet Union, and both Finnish and Nordic communism. His other research areas are the youth movements of the 1960s and the history of intelligence agencies.

His latest title, How Finland Survived Stalin, won the Lauri Jäntti Award for non-fiction literature in 2017, while his previous book Vallankumouksen aave (‘The Ghost of the Revolution’) won the Scholarly Book of the Year Award in Finland in 2007.