The father of Communist Russia, Vladimir Ilych Lenin now seems to have emerged fully formed in the turbulent wake of WorldWar I and the Russian Revolution. But Lenin's character was in fact forged much earlier, over the course of years spent in exile, constantly on the move, and in disguise.
In Conspirator, Russian historian Helen Rappaport narrates the compelling story of Lenin's life and political activities in the years leading up to the revolution. As he scuttled between the glittering capital cities of Europe--from London and Munich to Vienna and Prague--Lenin found support among fellow emigres and revolutionaries in the underground movement. He came to lead a ring of conspirators, many of whom would give their lives in service to his schemes.
A riveting account of Lenin's little-known early life, Conspirator tracks in gripping detail the formation of one of the great revolutionaries of the twentieth century.
Russia-specialist Rappaport (The Last Days of the Romanovs) has created a wonderfully thorough and highly interesting account of V.I. Lenin's purposeful wanderings in Europe before the Russian revolution. Lenin emerges as the quintessential fanatic, convinced of his own infallibility as a messiah of Marxism. Charismatic and driven, he captivates individuals and seizes control of the Bolshevik wing of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party. Viewing himself as the embodiment of revolution, Lenin established underground operations in Munich, Geneva, London, Paris, and numerous other locations while feuding with anyone who dared question his approach (We won't permit the idea of unity [with the Mensheviks] to tie a noose around our necks, he said). His stoically loyal wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya provided her Volodya with constant support as he imposed his will on the Bolsheviks and, ultimately, on an entire nation. Too much attention is given to Lenin's affair with the beautiful, tragic Inessa Armand, but, on the other hand, some may find poetic justice in reading that Lenin very likely died of syphilis. (Mar.)
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February 22, 2010
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