Lenin: A Biography

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Harvard University Press, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 561 pages
3 Reviews

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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Lenin: A Biography

User Review  - Book Verdict

Service (Trotsky: A Biography; Stalin: A Biography) here comprehensively covers Lenin's entire life, beginning with his early influences in Ulyanovsk through his end-of-life deterioration. Lenin is shown to be a brilliant, difficult, and strident person from beginning to end. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - xuebi - LibraryThing

As with Service's biography of Stalin, this biography of Lenin is well-researched and reads very well, covering in detail his youth, rise to power, rule, death and legacy in Russian society today. Very interesting as with Service's other political biographies. Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
THE REBEL EMERGES
11
THE ULYANOVS AND THE BLANKS
13
CHILDHOOD IN SIMBIRSK 18701885
31
DEATHS IN THE FAMILY 18861887
47
THE PLOUGHING OF THE MIND 18871888
61
PATHS TO REVOLUTION 18891893
74
ST PETERSBURG 18931895
91
THE RUSSIAN COCKPIT May to July 1917
270
POWER FOR THE TAKING
287
THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION October to December 1917
308
DICTATORSHIP UNDER SIEGE Winter 19171918
324
BRESTLITOVSK January to May 1918
338
AT GUNPOINT May to August 1918
356
DEFENCE OF THE REVOLUTION
371
WAR LEADER 19181919
373

TO SIBERIAN ITALY 18951900
107
LENIN AND THE PARTY
127
AN ORGANISATION OF REVOLUTIONARIES 19001902
129
HOLY FIRE 19021904
147
RUSSIA FROM FAR AND NEAR 19051907
166
THE SECOND EMIGRATION 19081911
184
ALMOST RUSSIA 19121914
202
FIGHTING FOR DEFEAT 19141915
222
LASTING OUT 19151916
235
SEIZING POWER
251
ANOTHER COUNTRY February to April 1917
253
EXPANDING THE REVOLUTION April 1919 to April 1920
391
DEFEAT IN THE WEST 1920
406
THE NEW ECONOMIC POLICY
421
A QUESTION OF SURVIVAL July 1921 to July 1922
435
DISPUTING TO THE LAST September to December 1922
451
DEATH IN THE BIG HOUSE 19231924
464
THE AFTERLIFE
481
Notes
495
Select Bibliography
522
Index
531
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

REBECCA EMBERLEY and her father ED EMBERLEY, winner of the Caldecott Medal for Drummer Hoff, have created the highly praised picture books Ten Little Beasties, Chicken Little, The Red Hen and The Ant and the Grasshopper. Both live in New England--Ed in Massachusetts and Rebecca in Maine.

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