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Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror


Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror

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    Available in PDF Format | Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror.pdf | English
    Victor Sebestyen(Author)
Victor Sebestyen's riveting biography of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin--the first major biography in English in nearly two decades--is not only a political examination of one of the most important historical figures of the twentieth century but also a fascinating portrait of Lenin the man.

Brought up in comfort and with a passion for hunting and fishing, chess, and the English classics, Lenin was radicalized after the execution of his brother in 1887. Sebestyen traces the story from Lenin's early years to his long exile in Europe and return to Petrograd in 1917 to lead the first Communist revolution in history. Uniquely, Sebestyen has discovered that throughout Lenin's life his closest relationships were with his mother, his sisters, his wife, and his mistress. The long-suppressed story told here of the love triangle that Lenin had with his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, and his beautiful, married mistress and comrade, Inessa Armand, reveals a more complicated character than that of the coldly one-dimensional leader of the Bolshevik Revolution.

With Lenin's personal papers and those of other leading political figures now available, Sebestyen gives is new details that bring to life the dramatic and gripping story of how Lenin seized power in a coup and ran his revolutionary state. The product of a violent, tyrannical, and corrupt Russia, he chillingly authorized the deaths of thousands of people and created a system based on the idea that political terror against opponents was justified for a greater ideal. An old comrade what had once admired him said that Lenin "desired the good . . . but created evil." This included his invention of Stalin, who would take Lenin's system of the gulag and the secret police to horrifying new heights.

In Lenin, Victor Sebestyen has written a brilliant portrait of this dictator as a complex and ruthless figure, and he also brings to light important new revelations about the Russian Revolution, a pivotal point in modern history.

(With 16 pages of black-and-white photographs)

-[An] excellent, original and compelling portrait of Lenin as man and leader.--Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of The Romanovs -A vivid and rounded picture of Lenin the man. Serious and deeply reserved, the great revolutionary had few friends but loved at least two women deeply, and at the same time.Lenin's life has been told before, but Sebestyen brings to the task a gift for narrative and for describing his rich cast of characters.---Margaret MacMillan, The Oldie (UK) -An entertaining read...Sebestyen writes in a lively journalistic style and has an eye for memorable anecdotes and quotations...He brings Lenin the man to life and shows persuasively how 'he was driven by emotion as much as by ideology.'- --Orlando Figes, The Sunday Times (UK)-Richly readable... Sebestyen does full justice to the astonishing, thriller-like tale of Lenin's return to Russia to organize the October enthralling but appalling story. - --The Mail on Sunday (UK)"[An] excellent, original and compelling portrait of Lenin as man and leader."--Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of The Romanovs

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2.4 (5371)
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Book details

  • PDF | 592 pages
  • Victor Sebestyen(Author)
  • Pantheon Books (7 Nov. 2017)
  • English
  • 6
  • Biography

Review Text

  • By P. Evans on 26 August 2017

    Great read thanks!

  • By Guest on 9 August 2017

    Good read

  • By Grum on 22 April 2017

    Episodic, incoherent, and says little new about the man's political positions, though there are a few interesting tit-bits on his personal life.. He offers no detailed support for the few controversial views he expresses e.g. Russia's entry into World War One. Robert Service's biography is streets ahead.

  • By Guest on 27 March 2017

    Very interesting and amusing in parts. Highly recommend.

  • By Guest on 24 May 2017


  • By C. J. Defeo on 23 February 2017

    I purchased this book on the 14th of February, received it on the 15th and finished reading it on the 22nd, despite having a busy life. It's that compelling; it commands attention, beckons the reader to return. As this indicates, this is not a dry, standard biography of a world figure which only is of interest to a scholar. In this tome, Lenin emerges in all his dimensions and complexities: he was intelligent yet in many ways blind, hotheaded yet analytical, cold yet passionate. Sebestyen's prose conjures up the Lenin that could launch into tirades and call for many to be shot yet also loved cats and was moved by Beethoven's Appassionata.Sebestyen's book is also timely; he record Lenin's disdain for facts when speaking to the masses, which rings a particular 2016 / 2017 bell. Lenin's denunciation of experts also finds echoes in our modern era. It is easy to dismiss the Communist experiment as a strange aberration in world history, and Lenin's experiment as a failure. Nevertheless, as Sebestyen points out: Lenin is still in his Mausoleum rather than buried. We are still contending with parameters and extremities of politics he outlined. Lenin himself is dead; the idea (as stated in Soviet propaganda) that he is "more alive than all the living" is preposterous nonsense, but his shadow still lingers, perhaps more than we care to admit.

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