2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Scholarly and readable,
This review is from: Lenin: A Biography (Paperback)
An excellent biography of a difficult subject. Unlike most biographies, I felt this work really helped me to gain an understanding of who Lenin was, and why he acted as he did. This is really the only biography of Lenin you need to read. As others have pointed out, this is not a general history of the period, but focusses in on Lenin, his thoughts and his actions, rather like the man himself, who seems to have been self-centred to a remarkable degree.
Service writes with a very engaging, readable style, making even endless pages describing the inter-factional warfare of the Bolshevik party interesting. Although the Soviet era is not a particular interest of mine, I wanted to understand how far Lenin drove the revolution, and why he was such a crucial figure for Russia, and this biography certainly illustrated that for me. The only area where I would have liked to have known more was about Lenin's posthumous reputation, but since the book is already a door-stopper, I suppose Service needed to draw the line somewhere.
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Initial post: 9 Aug 2010 21:09:18 BDT
Marcos Schneider says:
His reputation has more to do with his astute political analysis and strategy as well as his insightful readings of Marx and Hegel, less so with how self-centred he was. I would hesitate to say this is the only book on Lenin one should read (not that I know of others) simply going by the startling inaccuracies in Service's Trotsky biography which for example relied on very dodgy anecdotal evidence from sources that were known to be most unsympathetic to his politics.
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