- Also check our best rated Travel Book reviews
Conspirator: Lenin in Exile the Making of a Revolutionary Hardcover – 2 Feb 2010
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
“Rappaport delivers a vital restoration of the real Lenin.”
“The period of Lenin’s life when he wandered Europe, impoverished and isolated, prior to the 1917 revolution is recounted in fascinating detail in this new book… This volume contributes immensely to our understanding of how Lenin forged his cadre, his leadership style and the worldview that all came to be so brutally reflected in the oppressive state he founded.”
“Remini revisits the Compromise of 1850 as an important, cautionary tale for today…. [He] skillfully presents the debates by the Great Triumvirate – Clay, John C. Calhoun and Daniel Webster – and decides that Clay’s compromise ultimately saved the Union by allowing the North ten years to prepare for war and to nourish the great leader it needed – Abraham Lincoln. A fresh look at the value of compromise in advancing the general interest.”
“[A]n excellent account of Lenin’s formative years as a political exile from tsarist Russia that evokes the desperate scene of the European radical underground with nuance and in engaging detail…. Rappaport handles her subject with admirable objectivity, which makes the image of Lenin that emerges all the more damning.”
“Never before have [Lenin’s] mind, habits, quirks, and passions been so well portrayed as in this book…. The events of these years have been recounted a thousand times, but Rappaport penetrates beyond them by trailing after Lenin, his utterly devoted wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, and the sundry young Russian revolutionaries who collected about him in an endless succession of one-room furnitureless apartments, makeshift meeting places, and furtive printing centers.”
“Helen Rappaport, in Conspirator, vividly describes the years that Nikolai Lenin, one of the century’s leading monsters, responsible for the reign of terror and the Gulag, spent in exile. Though the outcome – the Communist takeover of Russia – is familiar, Rappaport maintains such narrative tension that it does not seem certain.… [A] readable and always intelligent account of one of history’s most infamous monsters.”
“A well-written and…painstakingly researched story.”
“Instead of being a political saga, as have been most previous Lenin biographies, the fangs are missing in this one; it has become a story of obsession. Well written and researched, with a full and workable bibliography…. Recommended.”
About the Author
Helen Rappaport is a specialist in Russian history, as well as fluent in Russian. In 2002, she was Russian consultant to the National Theater's Tom Stoppard trilogy, The Coast of Utopia. She has translated all seven of Chekhov's plays and is most recently the author of The Last Days of the Romanovs. She lives in Oxford, England.
Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I find the other review very very confusing
Lenin comes alive in this book in a way I have rarely seen
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Helen Rappaport's "Conspirator: Lenin in Exile" attempts to peal away layers of myths and dead ends to reveal Lenin as he really was---to see him in all his glory and triumphs and with all his flaws and doubts. Although there's no much new here, the book is well written and easy to follow along. Ms. Rappaport does give extra attention to Lenin's alleged affair with the beautiful and highly intelligent Inessa Armand which adds more of a human element occasionaly missing from other biographies. The only serious criticism I found is to her conclusions regarding Lenin's death, which other Lenin biographers would disagree with as well. The book is nicely furnished with photographs, some of which are rather rare. At 315 pages, this book is a good addition for anyone interested in Lenin, Communism, or Russian History.
Lenin's political activism started in Switzerland where, together with other Russian exiles, he created a "revolutionary" periodical called the Spark. Around his editorial board, Lenin created a political group, which joined other like-minded Marxist factions. With time, however, the other Marxist groups started leaning more toward "change from within" and liberal social democracy, whereas Lenin - a man with an "exceptional sense of purpose" - insisted on a full-fledged revolution that would topple the Russian tsar and replace him with a people's government.
Lenin's job was not easy. The production of his newspaper stumbled due to lack of funds. Its circulation lurched.
Through this book, readers will be introduced to Lenin's daily life. Lenin spent most of his time researching Marxism and economic indicators of countries. He rejected life luxuries and lived - with his wife Nadya and her mother - in austerity. More often than not, Lenin's mother would send him money.
Yet, despite the failure of his indoctrination of the Russian masses through the Spark, and him being outnumbered in the political party he helped found, and despite his impoverished life and his not-very promising political career suffering under the watchful eye of the tsar's secret police, the Okrahna, Lenin rarely despaired, and always dominated over his peers.
By WWI and the abduction of Tsar Nicholas II in March 1917, Lenin - still in Europe - decided to take a big risk by inviting the Germans to transport him back to Russia, through German-controlled territories. Lenin had reportedly said that he and his group would be either hanged, or they would eventually rule Russia.
Immediately upon his return to Russia - coming from Finland - the interim Russian government gave the exile a hero's welcome. To their dismay, Lenin attacked the government and insisted that his vision of a revolution must rule.
The downfall of the tsar had taken Lenin by surprise. Russia was not ready to be transformed into an industrial nation. Lenin, according to Rapport, decided instead to circumvent such surprise by merging the two steps of his imagined revolution into one. Eventually, the views of an ideologue like Lenin, detached from Russian reality, resulted in a civil war and the emergence of a dictatorship, rather than a utopian communist state.
Rapport's prose is entertaining and her facts well-researched. While the book touches on the evolution of Lenin's thought and his ideological battles with his peers and rivals, it stays away from getting into the details of ideology. Rapport presents enough information for the reader to understand Lenin's stances.
Other than his political activism, his mundane daily routine, his family and financial issues, Rapport makes sure to highlight Lenin's entertainment, which was focused on hiking and biking. She also records Lenin's romances, his relationship with his lieutenant and lover Inessa, his probable trips to London's red district. She mentions that he eventually died from syphilis.
Rapport also highlights the parts of Lenin's life in exile, during which he was irrelevant to events in Russia and was disconnected from its affairs. Soviet hagiographers tried to hide this part.
Overall, the book is worth the money.