Lenin: A Biography

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9780674008281: Lenin: A Biography

Lenin's politics continue to reverberate around the world even after the end of the USSR. His name elicits revulsion and reverence, yet Lenin the man remains largely a mystery. This biography shows us Lenin as we have never seen him, in his full complexity as revolutionary, political leader, thinker, and private person.



Born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov in 1870, the son of a schools inspector and a doctor's daughter, Lenin was to become the greatest single force in the Soviet revolution--and perhaps the most influential politician of the twentieth century. Drawing on sources only recently discovered, Robert Service explores the social, cultural, and political catalysts for Lenin's explosion into global prominence. His book gives us the vast panorama of Russia in that awesome vortex of change from tsarism's collapse to the establishment of the communist one-party state. Through the prism of Lenin's career, Service focuses on dictatorship, the Marxist revolutionary dream, civil war, and interwar European politics. And we are shown how Lenin, despite the hardships he inflicted, was widely mourned upon his death in 1924.



Service's Lenin is a political colossus but also a believable human being. This biography stresses the importance of his supportive family and of its ethnic and cultural background. The author examines his education, upbringing, and the troubles of his early life to explain the emergence of a rebel whose devotion to destruction proved greater than his love for the "proletariat" he supposedly served. We see how his intellectual preoccupations and inner rage underwent volatile interaction and propelled his career from young Marxist activist to founder of the communist party and the Soviet state--and how he bequeathed to Russia a legacy of political oppression and social intimidation that has yet to be expunged.

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About the Author:

Robert Service is a Fellow of the British Academy and Professor of Russian History at Oxford University.

From Booklist:

From the Soviet archives that were opened, briefly, after the disintegration of the Leninist state, spilled documents that confirmed impressions of Lenin's fanatical hatreds, such as his orders to hang, shoot, and imprison assorted class enemies. A respected historian of the Soviet period (A History of Twentieth-Century Russia, 1998), Service has incorporated the unflattering revelations into this significant addition to the train of biographies that have been produced ever since the revolutionary burst into world historical prominence in 1917. Without doubt, Service's life-of should answer all curiosities about Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin)--about his personality, attitudes, intellect, ruthlessness, and significance. Most successfully of all, Service comprehensively conveys the utter self-confidence the man had, which underlay his contempt for all opponents--and his absolute indifference, when in power, to killings (including that of his own cousin) "necessary" to force Russia, and ideally the entire world, to conform with the communist vision he carried in his head. As Service notes, but for contingencies that pushed history his way, Lenin might have remained an anonymous exile; why it was otherwise is adroitly argued throughout this superb biography. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. 229 x 152 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Giving a picture of Lenin in all his different roles, Service also provides an account of a great turning point in modern history. In discovering the origins of the USSR, he casts light on the nature of the state and society Lenin left behind, one that has not entirely disappeared after the collapse of the Soviet regime in 1991. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780674008281

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. 229 x 152 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Giving a picture of Lenin in all his different roles, Service also provides an account of a great turning point in modern history. In discovering the origins of the USSR, he casts light on the nature of the state and society Lenin left behind, one that has not entirely disappeared after the collapse of the Soviet regime in 1991. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780674008281

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