Before they were infamous

The Iron Bridge

While young Idi struggles to leave behind his dishwashing duties and earn a place among the uniformed Ugandan regiment of the British Army, it's hard to remember that in a very few years, he'll be one of the world's worst dictators. Then, there's a pudgy, 15-year-old Mao Tse-Tung, longing for an education and forced into an arranged marriage. An argument that monsters are made, not born, the incredible short stories in Anton Piatigorsky's The Iron Bridge: Short Stories of 20th Century Dictators as Teenagers (Steerforth Press, $15), imagine these and other mass murderers as the insecure and sensitive youths they might well have been.