Lenin: A Biography Paperback – 16 Apr 2010
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
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.
Few political reputations have collapsed quite as quickly as that of Lenin, the ideological guru of Russian Communism, the hero of the revolution of October 1917, and the first leader of the Soviet Union. Just as the Berlin Wall was pulled to the ground, so were thousands of statues of Lenin toppled across Eastern Europe and the new Russia in the early 1990s. But now that the dust has settled, and the Cold War is over, historians can be more objective about the life and achievements of Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov (Lenin was his adopted revolutionary name). Robert Service's book is the first major biography of Lenin for several decades and it benefits from the thaw that has opened up previously inaccessible material, particularly on Lenin's family and his medical history. Born into a wealthy family of landowners, lawyers and government officials, Lenin's revolutionary path was marked out when his elder brother was executed for his part in an assassination plot on the Tsar. From that point on, aided by his sisters, his wife and a loyal but argumentative band of Bolshevik followers, Lenin committed himself to the overthrow of the Tsarist regime, enduring exile, prison and ostracism in the process. This compelling and action-packed book brings Lenin and Leninism to life in a way that no previous account has managed to do. --Miles Taylor --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
'Immensely scholarly but also vivid and readable. This is a splendid book, much the best that I have ever read about Lenin...I was overwhelmed by the power and vividness of this portrait.' Dominic Lieven, Sunday Telegraph; 'He has managed skilfully to depict the surreal life of an obsessive, brilliant and stubborn individual' Guardian; 'Lenin's life was politics, but Service has succeeded in keeping Lenin the man in focus throughout... This book deserves a place among the best studies of one of the most fascinating figures in modern history' Harold Shukman, The Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
The book covers the basic facts - the names, dates and places - but uncovers little of the man himself. Perhaps this is because so much has been hidden or destroyed by the Communists who tried to turn Lenin into a secular saint or perhaps because a non-Russian simply does not have enough insight into Russian culture.
Lenin is portrayed as a bookworm steeped in Marx and Engels who is more concerned with scoring philosophical points at interminable meetings* than a man who became the dictator of Russia even though he had spent most of the previous 20 years in exile. Just how Lenin managed to achieve this prestige while he was wandering around France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and England, usually accompanied by his mother, sister and wife (believe it or not), is simply not explained.
The author blames most of Lenin's hatred for the Tsarist regime on the fact that his elder brother was hanged while a student for involvement in a plot to assassinate Emperor Alexander III. This might be true but he provides no proof.Read more ›
Robert Service had the inestimable advantage that he could access the files, almost for the first time; and in addition, he did not approach his task with a closed mind. He shows what people on the Right have always known or long suspected: that Lenin was an arrogant pedant, who always thought he was right but was usually wrong about everything other than how to gain power, and who unfortunately got the opportunity to inflict his dogmatic views on millions of people.
As a young man, I used to think that the Soviet Union was a noble experiment, which had somehow gone wrong. I now realise that it was a monstrous tyranny from the start; and this book helps to explain why.
However many reviewers have mentioned that while Service is good on Lenin the man he is brief about the politics. No doubt, having written a three volume political history of Lenin he felt he had done that bit. However it is frustrating at times, and Service does not introduce chapter and verse to show us exactly in what degree Lenin orchestrated terror. All we get is a few anecdotes and a lot of quotes from his speeches which to be fair could have been mere politicking.
No doubt I'm supposed to read the three volumes.
Other points - relatively early in his career Lenin splits with Martov and the Bolshevik party is born. Service doesn't really explain what the dispute was about, but actually it was crucial to Lenin's political thinking, that the party should be made up of committed activists only. Later Lenin splits with Bogdanov who believed that what was important was to develop working class culture and bring about revolution that way. However Service doesn't really explain this until about a hundred pages later. I found myself searching on the internet to learn more about Bogdanov whose ideas have been rescued in recent decades by postmodernists.
Other reviewers have complained that little is said about Stalin and Trotsky.
In a way all this is fair enough. Service has written biographies of these men as well as general histories of the period.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an informative work that gets to the heart of it's subject without boring you or bogging you down with dry history, which isn't always easy to do with subjects like this so... Read morePublished 17 months ago by keen reader
This and his Trotsky are the work of a biased and not too clever individual. His mistakes are many and often foolish. Read morePublished 22 months ago by D. H. Dickinson
Full of very interesting and comprehensive detail about Lenin, this book compares well with any biography of significant figures in World History.Published 24 months ago by F1Hertz
Have a great interest in the Russian culture and history of the motherland. Bought this book to read up on the leaders of such a great country after seeing so many statues when I... Read morePublished on 16 Jun. 2014 by AMDOG
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Biography > Historical > 1901 Onwards
- Books > Biography > Historical > Countries & Regions > Europe
- Books > Biography > Historical > Countries & Regions > Russia
- Books > Biography > Political > Countries & Regions
- Books > Biography > Political > Political Leaders & Leadership
- Books > History > Europe > France > French Heads of State
- Books > History > Europe > Russia > Russian Revolution
- Books > History > Political History > Marxism & Communism
- Books > Society, Politics & Philosophy > Government & Politics > Political Science & Ideology > Communism & Marxism