Introducing Lenin and the Russian Revolution Paperback – 1 Aug 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
I heartily recommend this as both a good historical and political introduction to Lenin, his thought, and his life.
However, the major problem with the book is doubtlessly Appignanesi's own prominent Leninist (or at least overly Lenin-sympathetic) views, which strongly cloud his interpretation, block almost any real criticisms of Lenin and his ideas, and sadly appear to play fast and loose with established facts and standard accounts, particularly over whether or not Red October was a coup d'etat or some sort of popular uprising by proxy (it was very definitely the former), as well as the legacy (and body count) of "War Communism". It's highly irritating knowing that what you're reading in an otherwise fine book is either definitely wrong or perhaps some inappropriate half-truth.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Is this book a case of "Schoolhouse Rock" meeting the Russian Revolution? Not exactly. It is more ideally suited for high-school students and young adults, but readers of all ages will enjoy the light-hearted format. It occasionally displays a slight bias in Lenin's favor, but this should be seen as a good thing when you consider that even the better biographies of Lenin accessible to American readers (Adam B. Ulam's _The Bolsheviks_, for example) all contain a much more decided bias against him.
Considering that it is inexpensive and will only take a day or so to finish, I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Lenin and the Russian Revolution. You'll get a few laughs from it, too.
Still, this book is biased towards Lenin's cause, and justifies to too great an extent Lenin's killing of hundreds of thousands of people in the Red Terror.
If you need a quick study guide on the Russian Revolution, this book is fine - just keep in mind that Lenin was not really as benevolent a person as he is made out to be in the cartoons. But, if you are trying to really understand the topic or write a serious research paper on it, save your money and buy another book on Lenin, such as "Lenin" by Robert Service.
This is all very nice except that Martov was a Jewish Socialist, yes, but not a Bundist, which is obvious from page 70 onwards when the Bund walks out of the 27th session, but Martov stays with the Mensheviks. Another problem with this statment is that it would have been impossible for the Bund to organise a 15,000 worker, mass-strike in Bialystok in 1895, becuase the Bund wasn't formed until 1897. And no the name was not simply chosen for the organisation because it was popular and therefore it was an easy mistake. The name of the Bund was debated over and changed three times before it got it's full name.
Good idea, but really, these factual errors are embarressing.
With the opening of the Soviet archives (an event that happend after the writing of this book) it became apparent that Stalin wasn't the first "bad-boy" of the Soviet Union. The purges, the pograms, the elimination of political rivals (a tactic later modeled by Hitler) started with Lenin. But you won't hear about that in this book. Like a Holocaust denier, the author avoids anything resembling facts and uses rhetoric to paint a warm picture of one of the most evil men of the 20th Century.
... Appignanesi ignores earlier works like Gulag Archipelago to paint a portrait of a loving socialist seeking to better the world.
Old school communist apologists like Appignanesi have a difficult time realizing that "the great experiment" failed miserably. This book is ample proof of how far they'll go to rationalize their devotion to their anachronistic ideology.
Read it in the same light as you would watch Triumph of the Will (Sans the homoerotic scenes of Germans bathing each other (shudder)). It's the work of someone so blinded by their ideology, they can't see the blood on the walls.
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