Rappaport delivers a vital restoration of the real Lenin’.
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.
The period of Lenin’s life when he wandered Europe, impoverished and isolated, prior to the 1917 revolution is recounted in fascinating detail in this new book… This volume contributes immensely to our understanding of how Lenin forged his cadre, his leadership style and the worldview that all came to be so brutally reflected in the oppressive state he founded.
[A] vivid account of seventeen years of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s life spent on the run or hiding in Europe as he plotted the revolution in Russia…. This is the stuff of great, if tragic, history.
To understand Russia, one must understand Lenin.”
An excellent account of Lenin’s formative years as a political exile from tsarist Russia that evokes the desperate scene of the European radical underground with nuance and in engaging detail. … Rappaport handles her subject with admirable objectivity, which makes the image of Lenin that emerges all the more damning.
His plan to establish socialism in Russia seemed an impossibility. But Lenin, underestimated by both his enemies and allies, achieved what he wanted and in so doing changed the world. How this happened, and why, is perceptively recounted in this readable and always intelligent account of one of history's most infamous monsters.
Rappaport, exploring the till-now cold trail of Lenin’s exile in Finland and Poland, as well as piecing together know facts about his sojourns elsewhere, has given us a fascinating view of this ruthless and determined man.
Curled Up With a Good Book
Never before have [Lenin’s] mind, habits, quirks, and passions been so well portrayed as in this book … The events of these years have been recounted a thousand times, but Rappaport penetrates beyond them.
Rappaport provides a fascinating account of the idealism, intrigue, and external support which together spurred Lenin to launch the Russian Revolution. Given the amount of detail and expert use of primary sources, including police records from London and Russia, one might be surprised to learn that Conspirator: Lenin in Exile is a “trade” book. At least in this case, however, Rappaport’s “non-academic” status does her subject no harm. Unlike other works on Lenin, such as those by Robert Service and Richard Pipes, which seek to find precedence for Soviet crimes in Lenin’s early behavior, Rappaport’s study largely avoids interpreting past events through a presentist lens. It is precisely this approach which makes Conspirator such a refreshing read.
Ehistory online journal, Ohio State University
WRITER HISTORIAN RUSSIANIST
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