Lenin (1870-1924) was the leader of the communist Bolshevik party and founder of the Soviet Union. He was a key revolutionary thinker and a man who, at one time, lived in exile for his political views and survived several assassination attempts. The standard view of Lenin portrays him as a pessimist with a dismissive view of the revolutionary potential of the workers. In Lenin, Lars T. Lih presents a striking new interpretation, revealing that underneath the sharp polemics, Lenin was more a romantic enthusiast than a sour pragmatist, who imposed meaning on the whirlwind of events going on around him: the Russian proletariat were inspired by the prospect of socialism and went on to lead the Russian narod (the peasants in particular) to revolutionary victory. This concise biography of Lenin's life and outlook is based on wide-ranging new research that puts Lenin into the context both of Russian society and of the international socialist movement of the early twentieth century. It also sets the development of Lenin's political outlook firmly within the framework of his family background and private life.
Using contemporary photographs, posters and drawings, Lih illustrates the emotional and physical features of Lenin's world. A non-partisan and vivid portrait of a pivotal figure in modern history, Lenin will appeal to scholars and general readers alike.
Lars T. Lih is an independent scholar based in Montreal, Canada, who has written many articles on soviet history. He is the author of Bread and Authority in Russia, 1914-1921 (1990), co-editor of The Stalin-Molotov Letters, 1925-1936 (1995) and Lenin Rediscovered: 'What is to be Done?' In Context (2006).