Robert Service Lenin: A Biography

ISBN 13: 9780674008281

Lenin: A Biography

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9780674008281: Lenin: A Biography
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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.

Review:

Service knows as much about Lenin's life as anybody around. What he has done is to write a more personal biography of Lenin than has ever been written before. A great deal of new material has come out since 1991 or even a bit earlier, especially on Lenin's personal life--on his health, physical and psychic. The book enriches Lenin's life with detail and should be made widely available. (Abbott Gleason, author of Totalitarianism)

With the help of previously unpublished documents recently released from central party archives, [Service] has managed to skillfully depict the surreal life of an obsessive, brilliant and stubborn individual who usually found himself the champion of the minority opinion within a minority of just a small number of revolutionaries--who, for most of their lives, did not have a revolution in sight. (The Guardian)

There is nothing approaching Service's book in Russian. In English, no one has examined Lenin's career as microscopically as Service or attempted to bring the man and his works into a single and, at the same time, comprehensive focus. Service makes quite clear the inordinate costs of Lenin's revolutionary activity for Russia and the world. But he conveys this assessment by scrupulous reconstruction of his subject's career and careful criticism of existing interpretations. This is the ablest, the most accurate, and the most up-to-date treatment of the subject that we have, or will have for a very long time. (Martin Malia, author of Russia Under Western Eyes)

In this thorough biography, Robert Service uses the abundant new archival evidence to describe Lenin's personal idiosyncracies, and also to underline, once again, his many ideological contradictions...Service then goes on to show how Lenin betrayed, in practice, virtually all of his paper principles, which had themselves changed several times in any case: far from creating a state in which ordinary workers took decisions about the running of society, Lenin created a totalitarian dictatorship. (Anne Applebaum Sunday Herald)

[A] significant addition...Without doubt, Service's life-of should answer all curiosities about Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin)--about his personality, attitudes, intellect, ruthlessness, and significance...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 Booklist)

The wonder of this particular account is that Service succeeds in explaining how Lenin came to [his] determined confidence and the complex and ultimately tragic circumstances that led to the triumph of his ambitions...The most significant contribution of this book is the wealth of personal information that makes Lenin a far more accessible, if not appealing, individual...Such details make Lenin all the more human and so all the more vivid and frightening...Service never allows his narrative to slip into sentimentality or forgets whom he is dealing with. (Joshua Rubenstein Wall Street Journal)

The most authoritative and well-rounded biography of Lenin yet written--and the one that is, in its quiet way, the most horrifying. Oxford historian Service (A History of Twentieth Century Russia) makes good use of Party and Presidential archives that were previously closed to historians. The portrait that emerges therefore has many elements that were either altogether unknown or have only recently emerged...An important study that goes far in tracing the roots of the dire legacy Communism bequeathed to the third of mankind unfortunate enough to have suffered its rule. (Kirkus Reviews)

A comprehensive and intimate biography of the Russian revolutionary. (Washington Post 2000-09-10)

In Lenin: A Biography, Robert Service argues that Lenin's importance evolved from three major achievements: He led the October Revolution, he founded the Soviet Union, and he laid out the rudiments of Marxism-Leninism...This is a fascinating and engaging book, not the least because it is the first comprehensive Lenin biography to appear since crucial Soviet archives have been opened. (Amos Perlmutter Washington Times 2000-10-30)

Throughout this massive and exhaustive biography of Lenin, British historian Robert Service does not lose sight of his subject's stature as the father of the twentieth century's feast of horrors. What interests Service more, however, is an exploration of the person behind the political persona...Service has diligently incorporated his archival findings into this work, which has enabled him to take issue with the many biographies that tend to portray Lenin as either a sociopath or savior...This lucidly written, insightful biography will no doubt come to be regarded as a definitive interpretation of Lenin. (Rob Stout Central Europe Review 2001-01-14)

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAS9780674008281

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAS9780674008281

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Book Description HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, United States, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # BTE9780674008281

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