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For years, westerners have wondered what secrets were preserved not only in the KGB archives, but also in dozens of other off-limits locations. Now that Dmitri Volkogonov, historian and former general in the Soviet Army, has been entrusted with the management of the archives as a Special Assistant to Boris Yeltsin, we at last have a chance to find out. For the last three y For years, westerners have wondered what secrets were preserved not only in the KGB archives, but also in dozens of other off-limits locations. Now that Dmitri Volkogonov, historian and former general in the Soviet Army, has been entrusted with the management of the archives as a Special Assistant to Boris Yeltsin, we at last have a chance to find out. For the last three years he has combed through more than 3700 once-secret documents covering every piece of information in the archive system concerning Vladimir Ilyitch Lenin and his legacy. He has woven this mountain of information into a compelling story of the Soviet founding father and the system he created. Volkogonov offers a radical departure from the traditional interpretation of Lenin as an idealist. Many of the characteristics of so-called Stalinism, he shows, arose in Lenin's lifetime, often on Lenin's direct orders. From the creation of concentration camps, to brutal repression of the church and the media, to the strategic cultivation of a cult of personality, Lenin's leadership was cruel and totalitarian. Volkogonov also offers select revelations from the post-Lenin years in order to demonstrate that the worst excesses of the Soviet state all had their roots in its founding father. In Volkogonov's words, for years "we asked ourselves where Stalin had acquired the cruelty which he inflicted on his fellow countrymen. None of us - the present author included - could begin to imagine that the father of domestic Russian terrorism, merciless and totalitarian, could have been Lenin."


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For years, westerners have wondered what secrets were preserved not only in the KGB archives, but also in dozens of other off-limits locations. Now that Dmitri Volkogonov, historian and former general in the Soviet Army, has been entrusted with the management of the archives as a Special Assistant to Boris Yeltsin, we at last have a chance to find out. For the last three y For years, westerners have wondered what secrets were preserved not only in the KGB archives, but also in dozens of other off-limits locations. Now that Dmitri Volkogonov, historian and former general in the Soviet Army, has been entrusted with the management of the archives as a Special Assistant to Boris Yeltsin, we at last have a chance to find out. For the last three years he has combed through more than 3700 once-secret documents covering every piece of information in the archive system concerning Vladimir Ilyitch Lenin and his legacy. He has woven this mountain of information into a compelling story of the Soviet founding father and the system he created. Volkogonov offers a radical departure from the traditional interpretation of Lenin as an idealist. Many of the characteristics of so-called Stalinism, he shows, arose in Lenin's lifetime, often on Lenin's direct orders. From the creation of concentration camps, to brutal repression of the church and the media, to the strategic cultivation of a cult of personality, Lenin's leadership was cruel and totalitarian. Volkogonov also offers select revelations from the post-Lenin years in order to demonstrate that the worst excesses of the Soviet state all had their roots in its founding father. In Volkogonov's words, for years "we asked ourselves where Stalin had acquired the cruelty which he inflicted on his fellow countrymen. None of us - the present author included - could begin to imagine that the father of domestic Russian terrorism, merciless and totalitarian, could have been Lenin."

30 review for Lenin: A New Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brett C

    I found this biography fascinating. Lenin's backstory and his discovery of Marxism were well-written. The author really shows the true terrors of Vladimir Lenin's rise to power. I felt the author's style kept me engaged in the history. Lenin was the true architect of terror throughout the revolution, exterminating the Romanov dynasty, the civil war, and in his murderous strategies at maintaining power. "The idea of the concentration camp system - the State Camp Administration, or GULAG - and the I found this biography fascinating. Lenin's backstory and his discovery of Marxism were well-written. The author really shows the true terrors of Vladimir Lenin's rise to power. I felt the author's style kept me engaged in the history. Lenin was the true architect of terror throughout the revolution, exterminating the Romanov dynasty, the civil war, and in his murderous strategies at maintaining power. "The idea of the concentration camp system - the State Camp Administration, or GULAG - and the appalling purges of the 1930s are commonly associated with the name Stalin, but the true father of the Bolshevik concentration camps, the executions, the mass terror and the 'organs' which stood above the State, was Lenin." pg. 235 I found his dealings with religion and the church very brutal. This was a subchapter 'Lenin and The Church' from pgs. 372-87. Lenin completely severed the link to God: "Throughout the country military-style expeditions were mounted against churches and the clergy. Jewish synagogues, Muslim mosques and Roman Catholic Churches were not spared. At night, in the cellars of the Cheka or nearby woods, dry crack of revolver-fire could be heard." pg 381. "The country might have been spared the monstrous experiments of Stalinism, but the one-party 'dictatorship of the proletariat' would inevitably have led to an authoritarian regime." pg. 418 I enjoyed this book and I liked the way it was written. I would highly recommend it. Thanks!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    If there are (and there are) anyone who remains a fan of V.I. Lenin and considers him a man unfairly maligned only due to capitalist bias, they should have their naive suppositions dispelled via this book. In Volkogonov's Lenin, the author traces the details of Lenin's life beginning as a born member of the gentry through his early life as a supposed revolutionary where Lenin typically (also typically 1/4th Jewish) spent most of it doing almost no real work at all (according to letters written b If there are (and there are) anyone who remains a fan of V.I. Lenin and considers him a man unfairly maligned only due to capitalist bias, they should have their naive suppositions dispelled via this book. In Volkogonov's Lenin, the author traces the details of Lenin's life beginning as a born member of the gentry through his early life as a supposed revolutionary where Lenin typically (also typically 1/4th Jewish) spent most of it doing almost no real work at all (according to letters written by Lenin he spent most of his young adult life tanning, hunting, reading, and in leisure time, also Lenin as a fledgling lawyer even sued neighboring peasants for letting their cattle trample through his own crops and even leased his farm out to a kulak-so much for the spokeperson of the proles who had kulaks massacred)to his rise to his place as ruthless dictator of the Bolshevik party (the most evil people in world history) and Russia who willingly and deliberately brought civil war to Russia and set up the greatest state apparatus of repression that had ever existed and which Stalin used as a basis and Hitler borrowed from. The author shows how policies Lenin put into place were actually harsher than those that existed under the Tsars. For instance, exile and prison terms for political dissidents were far more lenient under the old autocratic system of the Tsars than it was under the Bolsheviks. For instance, before exiles and prisoners were sent to prisons that were already built to accommodate them and the prisoners were allowed to request transference to different locations of exile, were allowed to mingle and associate with like revolutionaries etc while under Lenin and successors exiles were taken to their place of exile and forced to build their own prisons and were not given any of the privileges mentioned above. He also details the systematic and violent oppression that Lenin used to keep himself in power, jailing, exiling, and executing thousands of political dissenters via his secret police i.e Chekists. Lenin gained power and kept his power through violence, state sponsored terror, and force. He was differentiated from Social Democrats whereby democracy wasn't the end, but the means to his ends: more power. It is difficult for me to understand why Lenin is still liked by communists and still in the good graces of social liberals while Stalin is considered the only evil one. Understandably, Stalin's bodycount is much greater than Lenin's (at least 20 million lives although some historians argue Stalin killed many more than that), but as the author states in one passage: "Who could have known that, after making their separate, defeatist, peace, the Bolsheviks would start liquidating not several hundred millionaires, but hundreds of thousands of private owners, middle and upper bourgeosie, and intellectuals. This would lead to the civil war which the Bolsheviks had also planned." Granted, in a day and age where political activists working on a Obama campaign can display flags and banners of Che Guevara (another violent revolutionary who murdered young teenagers, hated homosexuals and placed them in concentration camps, and considered blacks worthless to the revolution because he believed they were too stupid and lazy) who is also portrayed as a hero in Hollywood movies a la Benicio del Toro, with only Glenn Beck to complain, it really shouldn't be that surprising that Lenin still has quite a few supporters. Even Maxim Gorky, a long time friend and financier of Lenin and the Bolshevik party said (even though he continued to finance Lenin) "Lenin and his comrade-in-arms think they can commit any crime, like the massacre at Petrograd, the storming of Moscow, abolition of freedom of speech, the senseless arrests- all the abominations that used to be committed by Plehve and Stolypin. This is where today's leader is taking the proletariat, and it should be understood that Lenin is not an omnipotent magician, but a cold-blooded trickster who spares neither honour nor the lives of the proletariat." However, even though I agree with Volkogonov that Lenin was a ruthless, bloodthirsty monster who would let nothing stand as an obstacle in the way of attaining power, Volkogonov (who is categorized on the inner back of the dust jacket as being a liberal; I'm assuming in the European sense of the word) attempts to paint the fledgling Bolshevik regime as having undertones of anti-semitism. I'm assuming this is because by linking Lenin to anti-semitic acts this makes him look worse, but on closer examination it is an assertion that is pure poppycock. Lenin not only staffed the ruling elite of the Bolshevik party with a majority of Jews, but he also made anti-semitism punishable by execution. The laws under Lenin against anti-semitism were so strict that even ownership of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" was sufficient for the possessor to recieve a bullet to the back of the head. Further, Volkogonov tries to dismiss the allegation that the ruling elite of the Bolshevik regime were driven by and consisted of mostly Jews and that Jews played a disproportionate role in the creation of the Bolshevik revolution as purely uber-right wing conspiratorial fantasy. First of all, it wasn't just the far right that noticed the fact that Jews played a large part in the Bolshevik revolution. No less than Winston Churchill percieved the Bolsheviks and their regime as being largely Jewish. Taken from Churchhill's Zionism versus Bolshevism: "There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews. It is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders. Thus Tchitcherin, a pure Russian, is eclipsed by his nominal subordinate Litvinoff, and the influence of Russians like Bukharin or Lunacharski cannot be compared with the power of Trotsky, or of Zinovieff, the Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd), or of Krassin or Radek -- all Jews. In the Soviet institutions the predominance of Jews is even more astonishing. And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combating Counter-Revolution has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases by Jewesses. The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in the brief period of terror during which Bela Kun ruled in Hungary. The same phenomenon has been presented in Germany (especially in Bavaria), so far as this madness has been allowed to prey upon the temporary prostration of the German people. Although in all these countries there are many non-Jews every whit as bad as the worst of the Jewish revolutionaries, the part played by the latter in proportion to their numbers in the population is astonishing." Secondly, Jews did form an unquestionable majority in the ruling elite of the Bolshevik party. For instance, Slezkine (a Jew) argues in his book A Jewish Century that "Jews formed 40 percent of the top elected officials in the army, 5 of the 12 members of the Bolshevik Central Committee that voted to launch an armed insurrection in 1917, and much else." (Taken from: http://www.vdare.com/girin/060408_exe...) Also by Mark Weber: "Although officially Jews have never made up more than five percent of the country’s total population, they played a highly disproportionate and probably decisive role in the infant Bolshevik regime, effectively dominating the Soviet government during its early years. Soviet historians, along with most of their colleagues in the West, for decades preferred to ignore this subject. The facts, though, cannot be denied. With the notable exception of Lenin (Vladimir Ulyanov), most of the leading Communists who took control of Russia in 1917-20 were Jews. Leon Trotsky (Lev Bronstein) headed the Red Army and, for a time, was chief of Soviet foreign affairs. Yakov Sverdlov (Solomon) was both the Bolshevik party’s executive secretary and — as chairman of the Central Executive Committee — head of the Soviet government. Grigori Zinoviev (Radomyslsky) headed the Communist International (Comintern), the central agency for spreading revolution in foreign countries. Other prominent Jews included press commissar Karl Radek (Sobelsohn), foreign affairs commissar Maxim Litvinov (Wallach), Lev Kamenev (Rosenfeld) and Moisei Uritsky. Lenin himself was of mostly Russian and Kalmuck ancestry, but he was also one-quarter Jewish. His maternal grandfather, Israel (Alexander) Blank, was a Ukrainian Jew who was later baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church. A thorough-going internationalist, Lenin viewed ethnic or cultural loyalties with contempt. He had little regard for his own countrymen. “An intelligent Russian,” he once remarked, “is almost always a Jew or someone with Jewish blood in his veins.” (http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v14/v14n1p-4_W...) Volkogonov's claims about the pogroms that occured during the early years of the Bolshevik power were isolated local uprisings and events that were not sanctioned or ordered by the Bolshevik central power and cannot be seriously regarded as a policy that the Bolsheviks pursued. Despite this relatively minor disagreement with the author, I thought the book was overall well worth reading and entirely destroyed any rational basis for Lenin worship.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Einzige

    A very dense and comprehensive work (you wouldn’t guess that its actually abridged from the Russian version) by an Author uniquely well suited in his experience and access to provide an authoritative account. As for the Authors bias – it is quite clear that he is not only hostile to the life and ideas of the man but is so in a way that can only come from a person who was once a deep believer in them. Fortunately, the depth of the book means that even if it is peppered with hostile comments you a A very dense and comprehensive work (you wouldn’t guess that its actually abridged from the Russian version) by an Author uniquely well suited in his experience and access to provide an authoritative account. As for the Authors bias – it is quite clear that he is not only hostile to the life and ideas of the man but is so in a way that can only come from a person who was once a deep believer in them. Fortunately, the depth of the book means that even if it is peppered with hostile comments you are provided with enough material to from a fair opinion. For example, he goes into great detail about the amount of money Lenin sent aboard to support foreign communists rather than purchase food while Russia was in the grips of a deadly famine. So for some this will show a dogmatic and misplaced idealism resulting in a callous sacrifice of human life for others it will be a display of genuine international class solidarity which just didn’t pan out. About the man himself Volkagonov shows Lenin as ideological zealot of incredible energy who though not a psychopath certainly believed in securing a communist revolution no matter the cost (human or otherwise). He likewise shows some of the more human elements that official biographies tended to hide like his relative affluence, friendships with people who fell out of favour, his connection to the German military, his mental decline and disdain for violins. Finally, and what is of most interest to both sides on the political spectrum he makes a very compelling argument for showing that far from being an aberration – Stalin was a natural continuation of Lenin and that it is accurate to say that Stalin was a Marxist-Leninist and inaccurate to say he was a Stalinist. The important part of this seemingly silly distinction is that when assessing Russian Revolution, it cannot be sanitised or “saved” by dumping all the bad outcomes onto a single bad egg.

  4. 4 out of 5

    John Mark King

    Easily the best book of Russian history I have yet read. One must expect that the most insightful examination of Lenin and his legacy would have to be written by an insider...but only if it were to be decidedly honest. Boy, is this book ever honest. Volkogonov is unrelenting in his denial of Lenin's legacy in the former USSR as the bastion of goodwill and democracy who was cut down and replaced by the evils of Stalinism before his work could be finished. In truth, Lenin (as the author suggests) Easily the best book of Russian history I have yet read. One must expect that the most insightful examination of Lenin and his legacy would have to be written by an insider...but only if it were to be decidedly honest. Boy, is this book ever honest. Volkogonov is unrelenting in his denial of Lenin's legacy in the former USSR as the bastion of goodwill and democracy who was cut down and replaced by the evils of Stalinism before his work could be finished. In truth, Lenin (as the author suggests) was the true father of Stalinism and laid the foundations for all that came after (even the stagnation and political single-mindedness of the 70s and 80s). It was Leninism which ultimately killed the USSR and set the stage for the decades of re-adjustment we are now only beginning to address with regard to relations between former Soviet republics and the rest of the world. The author writes that if Lenin had truly wanted a socialist democracy to take root in Russia, he would have worked with the Provisional government in 1917 rather than against it. Or, at the very least, he would not have marginalized the non-Bolsheviks who had supported the revolutionary movement and granted supreme power to the Politburo. A fascinating read that is structured very much unlike a traditional Western-style biography, choosing to follow trains of thought based on links between Lenin and his successors rather than a simple chronology of his life and work.

  5. 5 out of 5

    drew housman

    I enjoyed learning about the Bolshevik movement in such great detail, as I feel like this was somehow glossed over in all my years of schooling. I just wish the book had more of a linear structure -- it jumps forward and backward in time quite a bit. It can also be repetitive. It was interesting to hear from an author who admits he used to be wrapped up in the mystique of Lenininsm. I felt like it gave a good glimpse into the power an authoritarian regime can have over the way one views the worl I enjoyed learning about the Bolshevik movement in such great detail, as I feel like this was somehow glossed over in all my years of schooling. I just wish the book had more of a linear structure -- it jumps forward and backward in time quite a bit. It can also be repetitive. It was interesting to hear from an author who admits he used to be wrapped up in the mystique of Lenininsm. I felt like it gave a good glimpse into the power an authoritarian regime can have over the way one views the world. My biggest takeaway is that any philosophy which is unbending in its belief that the ends justify the means is going to lead to some devastating outcomes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    4.5 stars really. Wow. It took me 32 days to finish this book. This was not what I would call an easy read. It was heavy, both in it's topic and in it's language. It was a challenge. It is full of Russian names, which are what make any Russian book challenging. And it's about politics and every committee or group has a name which of course consists several words, thus just making much of the book slow. Prior to reading this I knew NOTHING about Lenin. I only knew that I grew up during the Cold War 4.5 stars really. Wow. It took me 32 days to finish this book. This was not what I would call an easy read. It was heavy, both in it's topic and in it's language. It was a challenge. It is full of Russian names, which are what make any Russian book challenging. And it's about politics and every committee or group has a name which of course consists several words, thus just making much of the book slow. Prior to reading this I knew NOTHING about Lenin. I only knew that I grew up during the Cold War and that Communism was the enemy. I knew what I was told to know, that the Russian government would not let their people think or do for themselves in any way. This book was extremely thorough and will probably be the only book on Lenin that I will ever need to read. Will I read more anyway? It is quite possible. Within the first 100 pages or so, I was intrigued with the subject matter but really did not like the format of the book. It can almost be divided into two sections - Before Lenin's Illness and After. Prior to his illness, the book is written topically NOT chronologically. This is somewhat disconcerting. It can be hard to keep track of what's happening and who's doing what. However, as the book progresses, I came to understand that due to the sheer volume of information, it must be done this way. To write or read this information (the time from the 1905 Revolution up until Lenin's illness really paralyses him mentally and physically in 1922-ish/1923), would overwhelm the mind. At least topically, the reader is still able to keep up with events. Lenin probably was a genus in someway. He certainly was tenacious. I can't help it, but despite his lack of respect for life, for dignity, for religion, I like him. I can see why, to some extent, he was never allowed to die. And yet, the fact that I like him almost leaves me feeling as if I have somehow bought into the Leninist propaganda. The writer of this book is Russian. He grew up being fed the propaganda and yet he is very honest about Lenin's flaws and how Leninism came to ruin a great country. I am sure that there is so much more that I could say but having just finished it in the last 30 minutes, my mind is still swirling. There were times when I didn't think I would finish this book. I am very glad that I did.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Constantin

    Daca Marx a propus o formulă teoretică și a încercat sa anticipeze ceea ce ar fi stat să vină, plecând de la anumite realități ale vremurilor sale și ignorând sau ironizând dimensiunea spirituală, Lenin a fost cel care a preluat "rețeta" și a căutat să o impună. A fost omul care a vrut cu orice chip să confirme ipoteza, ignorând variabilele. De fapt, Lenin încarnează (și la propriu, încă!) însăși contrazicerea ideilor lui Marx, dovedind rolul istoric preponderent al personalităților, în detriment Daca Marx a propus o formulă teoretică și a încercat sa anticipeze ceea ce ar fi stat să vină, plecând de la anumite realități ale vremurilor sale și ignorând sau ironizând dimensiunea spirituală, Lenin a fost cel care a preluat "rețeta" și a căutat să o impună. A fost omul care a vrut cu orice chip să confirme ipoteza, ignorând variabilele. De fapt, Lenin încarnează (și la propriu, încă!) însăși contrazicerea ideilor lui Marx, dovedind rolul istoric preponderent al personalităților, în detrimentul maselor. În termenii atât de folosiți azi, dacă Marx a fost "profetul", Lenin a fost "zelotul", a fost cel care l-a "canonizat", ba chiar l-a înlănțuit pe Marx în propria-i dogmă. Biografia lui Volkogonov este o reușită, fiind, scriitoricește, un compromis bine dozat între politică, ideologie, viață personală, informații facile și analiză subtilă. Mai puțin talentat decât Montefiore, dar mai complex în abordare. Timp câștigat.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Luis

    It is the best biography that I read about this man and his comrades, who destroyed Russia and were responsibles for the first concentration camps in Russia, even before Stalin, and the famine right away the revolution, which caused millions of lives. The red terror was according to the author the tool used by the Bolsheviks to eliminate all the enemies of class, including the aristocracy, the gentry, peasants, officers of the Imperial Army, intellectuals who were anti Communists, the Russian mi It is the best biography that I read about this man and his comrades, who destroyed Russia and were responsibles for the first concentration camps in Russia, even before Stalin, and the famine right away the revolution, which caused millions of lives. The red terror was according to the author the tool used by the Bolsheviks to eliminate all the enemies of class, including the aristocracy, the gentry, peasants, officers of the Imperial Army, intellectuals who were anti Communists, the Russian middle clases from the cities, and anyone who opposed the revolution. Lenin wasn't better than Stalin, both were criminals of the worst nature, the second one was a psycho indeed, the first one was like Robespierre a cold man who decided life or death, just with a single movement of his hand.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Morrissey

    Lenin just may be the most consequential figure of the 20th Century: his leadership in the revolution in Russian in 1917 not only toppled one national regime, but opened up the predominant fissure in 20th Century politics, economics, and war. While a man of marble in Soviet days (and widely derided now), there is little left of Lenin the person. Volkogonov does much to unearth the truly human Lenin, one stripped of Communist Party orthodoxy and national adulation, and what is unearthed is as dis Lenin just may be the most consequential figure of the 20th Century: his leadership in the revolution in Russian in 1917 not only toppled one national regime, but opened up the predominant fissure in 20th Century politics, economics, and war. While a man of marble in Soviet days (and widely derided now), there is little left of Lenin the person. Volkogonov does much to unearth the truly human Lenin, one stripped of Communist Party orthodoxy and national adulation, and what is unearthed is as disturbing as the crimes of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and the other dictators of the last hundred years. Volkogonov wipes away the notion that Stalin alone created the destructive, bloody authoritarianism of Soviet Russia. Lenin, in tethering himself eternally to the dictatorship of the proletariat, did more than anyone else to establish Soviet Russia's fatal flaws: secretiveness; bureaucratism; economic stagnation; and terror on a massive scale. Lenin is not the heir of Marx, in Volkogonov's telling, but rather the heir of Robespierre, with far greater prowess for murder and propaganda. Volkogonov's book is less a linear biography of Lenin and more of a meditation on Lenin's life and how it impacted the Soviet state under Stalin and subsequent leaders, through to Gorbachev and the ultimate downfall of Communist Russia. Shrouded in the shadow of Stalin's awful terror, Lenin should be appreciated more as the archetypal Machiavellian: a person willing to put his ends above and beyond any means necessary to accomplish them, including the subjugation, destruction and desecration of an entire society.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Trounin

    Ради поставленной цели Ленин был готов на всё. И цель эта – добиться власти. С 1902 года он – создатель конспирологической организации, ведшей агрессивную политику, исповедовавшей принцип террора. И никаких других обеляющих слов быть использовано не может. Волкогонов твёрд в таком убеждении. Но кем Ленин был до 1889 года? Почитай, что никем. Он – дитя Европы и Азии, имевший в роду евреев, немцев, шведов, калмыков и русских. Он – потомок буржуа и крепостных. Его дед по матери – Сруль Мойшевич Бла Ради поставленной цели Ленин был готов на всё. И цель эта – добиться власти. С 1902 года он – создатель конспирологической организации, ведшей агрессивную политику, исповедовавшей принцип террора. И никаких других обеляющих слов быть использовано не может. Волкогонов твёрд в таком убеждении. Но кем Ленин был до 1889 года? Почитай, что никем. Он – дитя Европы и Азии, имевший в роду евреев, немцев, шведов, калмыков и русских. Он – потомок буржуа и крепостных. Его дед по матери – Сруль Мойшевич Бланк из Житомира, принявший крещение. Для советских граждан Ленин явился подобием Бога, ибо за Вседержителя он и почитался. И этот Бог – истинный Сатана, бравшийся судить, кого расстрелять, кому быть повешенным. Таким Ленин стал как раз с 1902 года, встав на путь борца за диктатуру пролетариата. Впрочем, кроме диктатуры он ни в чём другом не нуждался, какие бы обещания людям не раздавал. И в таком убеждении Волкогонов был не менее твёрд. (c) Trounin

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ned

    Liked this author as he certainly knew his song well before he started singing. A third or half way into it I thought I was hearing the refrains about Lenin's careless neglect of humanity too often, or yet again, the brutal turns away from and against any demokratik notions getting lost with the eventual consequences of bolshevik means and ends. But by the end these hammered chords of tens of thousands dead of famine, war and, anti-intelligentsia ineptitude propelled by bureaucratization, and ye Liked this author as he certainly knew his song well before he started singing. A third or half way into it I thought I was hearing the refrains about Lenin's careless neglect of humanity too often, or yet again, the brutal turns away from and against any demokratik notions getting lost with the eventual consequences of bolshevik means and ends. But by the end these hammered chords of tens of thousands dead of famine, war and, anti-intelligentsia ineptitude propelled by bureaucratization, and yes, the insanely rigoured surveillance matched with kidnapping and assassination teams, all were his own largest set of legacies as his followers in the Sovnarkom or Stalin developed them. If Lenin wanted a global socialist non-state, he was an utter failure. Lenin did more to weaken the Russian nation and its people than anyone excepting Stalin and Volkogonov wants us to remember that.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Interesting pov from the end of the Soviet Union. ~Lenin planted a mine deep in the structure of the Soviet bureaucracy that assured its eventual destruction.~ A decidedly negative judgment of Lenin that in my view could have used a little more explanation as to why Lenin should receive no credit for the NEP.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alexandre

    Good but some part are repetitive.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Raymond

    I begin with two quotes. “He [Lenin:] saw in liberal politicians the chief obstacle to his plans. His anti-liberalism was a mark of his general antipathy to liberty as a political and moral value.” “…believing everything is moral that facilitates the victory of Communism…” For Communism, substitute any idea of an ideal government. Both of these are from Lenin- A New Biography: Chap. The Mausoleum of Leninism. The first difficulty in reading a work by and about Russians is Russian names. Almost ever I begin with two quotes. “He [Lenin:] saw in liberal politicians the chief obstacle to his plans. His anti-liberalism was a mark of his general antipathy to liberty as a political and moral value.” “…believing everything is moral that facilitates the victory of Communism…” For Communism, substitute any idea of an ideal government. Both of these are from Lenin- A New Biography: Chap. The Mausoleum of Leninism. The first difficulty in reading a work by and about Russians is Russian names. Almost every name consists of a mouthful of syllables. In Mr. Volgonov’s history the problem is exacerbated by the seeming ease with which people may change them. That said, this new biography has been culled from here-to-fore secret archival documents. It provides a fascinating, and important, if sometimes bewildering, read. More often than I wished, I had to lay the book aside to allow what I read to come to some kind of sensible clarity in my head. Lenin proves to be even more brutal than he has previously been sketched. His brutality was never personal, as it would prove to be with Stalin, his successor, but out of a real idealism that degenerated into crimes against his own people. His goal was not just Russian revolution, but a world-wide proletariat uprising against Capitalism. Consequently, he stole from his own people, reduced them to famine and death, to finance the Party in other countries, including the United States. As events in this country are proving, antipathy to liberty as a political and moral value is not a blindness limited only to Leninism. We can see it take root, today, in Uganda, in Arab countries and even in America. The Manhattan Document recently released by a coterie of one hundred and forty-five fundamentalist, evangelical, Catholic and Orthodox Christian activists, who pledge themselves not to obey state rules unless they were aligned with their sectarian Church beliefs. Volgogonov claims, rightly, so it seems to me, that Leninism carried the seed to its own destruction. The Manhattan Document will probably fall victim to its excesses, as well. The problem is that it may, if carried out as its signers wish, destroy liberty as we know it, today. I recommend this book to any nascent historian. Its not a fun book, but I think it an important one.

  15. 4 out of 5

    David Hill

    I struggled for a while over the choice of which Lenin biography to read. My concern was that anything written by westerners would be slanted against the man and that anything produced by a Soviet author would be hagiographic. I settled on Volkogonov's book as perhaps in that sweet spot in the middle. He was a Soviet general, and as such would have found it impossible to advance without embracing Leninism, or at least appearing to. At the end of the Soviet era, he was chairman of Yeltsin's commi I struggled for a while over the choice of which Lenin biography to read. My concern was that anything written by westerners would be slanted against the man and that anything produced by a Soviet author would be hagiographic. I settled on Volkogonov's book as perhaps in that sweet spot in the middle. He was a Soviet general, and as such would have found it impossible to advance without embracing Leninism, or at least appearing to. At the end of the Soviet era, he was chairman of Yeltsin's commission examining the Soviet archives. Of course, it would not be possible to have a biography of Lenin without covering Leninism, the Bolshevik revolution, and, indeed, no small portion of Soviet history. It would be possible to cover these things without including a biography of Lenin. This book seems, to me, to be closer to the latter than the former. That is, this book struck me more of a history of Leninism than a biography of the man. I accept that biographies of political leaders do not conform well to strict chronological telling. There are many cases where the large issues of the day should be addressed by topic rather than according to the calendar. This book, though, goes to a bit of an extreme. The first few pages cover Lenin's life before October, 1917, and a chapter near the end covers the months of his decline. The vast middle is more accurately a history of the revolution rather than the story of the man. Also, in my experience, a whole life biography ends with a short denouement covering, perhaps, the funeral and a few pages of legacy. As a book more about Leninism than Lenin, Volkogonov devotes quite a bit of space to all the Soviet leaders - Stalin, obviously, who was a contemporary of Lenin, but also to the rest: Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko, and Gorbachev. None of this is meant to malign the book in any way. It's more that it failed to meet my expectations. It's a pretty good book about the Bolshevik revolution, it's underpinnings, the motives of the principal actors, and not least, it's brutality.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dudu Kadouri

    ultimately, a long winded and dry book - however, I do appreciate this book as a counter to the revisionist history. Volkogonov, as a first hand participant and observer, is able to talk bout how the seeds for the great terrors and purges were dictated by the ideologies of Lenin; detailed many times in the book, is how ruthless and calculating Lenin was - and how he saw any form of democracy, embodies by the Mensheviks, as anathema to the revolution. "Lenin took every opportunity to ram home the ultimately, a long winded and dry book - however, I do appreciate this book as a counter to the revisionist history. Volkogonov, as a first hand participant and observer, is able to talk bout how the seeds for the great terrors and purges were dictated by the ideologies of Lenin; detailed many times in the book, is how ruthless and calculating Lenin was - and how he saw any form of democracy, embodies by the Mensheviks, as anathema to the revolution. "Lenin took every opportunity to ram home the message that terror was inevitable. A dozen times a day he would fire off tirades against anyone suspected of pacifism: 'If we can't shoot a White Guard saboteur, what sort of great revolution is it? Haven't you seen what the bourgeois garbage are writing about us in the press? What sort o dictatorship is this? All talk and no action." "For twenty-five years after the Twentieth Congress, the Russian people asked themselves where Stalin had acquired the cruelty which he inflicted on his fellow countrymen. None of us - the present author included - could begin to imagine that the father of domestic Russian terrorism, merciless and totalitarian, was Lenin. Where Lenin acquired his own cruelty is another question: unlike Stalin's, his childhood had been benign, and he had spent a pleasant enough life in prosperous countries and cities abroad. It can only have been from the philosophy of 'revolutionary law and morality' that Lenin absorbed the notion that everything is allowed in the name of the goal."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ian Sergeant

    If you decided to read this weighty volume on Lenin, presumably you already have some interest and knowledge of the Soviet Russian era. Perhaps you are intending to join Volkogonov in his journey into the Krelim archives, to uncover the secrets held there? The book opens with the author's clear perspective - Lenin is himself guilty. The responsibility for the failing of the government of this era cannot be pushed solely onto others. However, the evidence he gathers is sparse. Most would already b If you decided to read this weighty volume on Lenin, presumably you already have some interest and knowledge of the Soviet Russian era. Perhaps you are intending to join Volkogonov in his journey into the Krelim archives, to uncover the secrets held there? The book opens with the author's clear perspective - Lenin is himself guilty. The responsibility for the failing of the government of this era cannot be pushed solely onto others. However, the evidence he gathers is sparse. Most would already be either known or assumed to exist by anyone who had studied the period. Volkogonov considers himself part-historian and part-Tolstoy. It is hard within the (War and Peace-like) drifting narrative to see how the stories are being developed from the evidence he is unconvering. If you are a academic specialist in the area, it is hard to see how you can escape reading Volkogonov's work. If not, there are many better summaries of the historical records than this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    This biography has interesting information, but it also gives a window into the mindset of a Russian historian. In the now-defunct USSR, Lenin was canonised by the state, but now he's a demon. In either case, Lenin is not treated as a human being. This biography has interesting information, but it also gives a window into the mindset of a Russian historian. In the now-defunct USSR, Lenin was canonised by the state, but now he's a demon. In either case, Lenin is not treated as a human being.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brayden Raymond

    A very different viewpoint on Lenin from that of Service. The perfect bio to contrast as such. Though a little trickier to follow than Services account. This provided many other juicy details for me to consume.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This was a bit of a slow read, i didn't feel like it was as informative as i thought it was going to be. This was a bit of a slow read, i didn't feel like it was as informative as i thought it was going to be.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Johnson

    God what a dreary book...although that may have as much to do with the subject matter as the writing

  22. 4 out of 5

    Al

    I am more amazed by human nature and by the cult of personality than I am by Lenin's personal story. I am more amazed by human nature and by the cult of personality than I am by Lenin's personal story.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andreea Maties

  24. 4 out of 5

    JoséMaría BlancoWhite

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ian

  26. 4 out of 5

    Zach

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dirk

  28. 4 out of 5

    Albert

  29. 5 out of 5

    Shane Hill

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

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