A Biography

3.81 based on 716 ratings & 52 reviews on Goodreads.com

Publication date: 16.04.2010
ISBN: 9780330518383
Number of pages: 624


Lenin is a colossal figure whose influence on twentieth-century history cannot be underestimated. Robert Service has written a calmly authoritative biography on this seemingly unknowable figure. Making use of recently opened archives, he has been able to piece together the private as well as the public life, giving the first complete picture of Lenin.

This biography simultaneously provides an account of one of the greatest turning points in modern history. Through the prism of Lenin's career, Service examines events such as the October Revolution and the ideas of Marxism-Leninism, the one-party state, economic modernisation, dictatorship, and the politics of inter-war Europe. In discovering the origins of the USSR, he casts light on the nature of the state and society which Lenin left behind and which have not entirely disappeared after the collapse of the Soviet regime in 1991.

'Immensely scholarly but also vivid and readable. This is a splendid book, much the best that I have ever read about Lenin ...I was overwhelmed by the power and vividness of this portrait.' Dominic Lieven, Sunday Telegraph

'He has managed skilfully to depict the surreal life of an obsessive, brilliant and stubborn individual' Guardian

'Lenin's life was politics, but Service has succeeded in keeping Lenin the man in focus throughout . . . This book deserves a place among the best studies of one of the most fascinating figures in modern history' Harold Shukman, The Times

Upcoming events

Robert Service at Bath Festival

Robert Service at Bath Festival

  • Bath Assemby Rooms
    Bath Assemby Rooms
  • 21 May 2017 11:00
21 May 2017 11:00Z 21 May 2017 12:00Z

'Lenin the Dictator': Marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution, acclaimed historian Victor Sebestyen brings us an intimate biography of one of the most significant figures of the 20th centur...

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Robert Service at Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2017

Robert Service at Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2017

  • The Literature Tent
    The Literature Tent
    Chapelfield Gardens Norwich, NR1 3BF UNITED KINGDOM
  • 28 May 2017 13:30
28 May 2017 01:30Z 28 May 2017 02:30Z

Russia and Revolution with Robert Service: In March 1917, Nicholas II, the last Tsar of All the Russias, abdicated and the dynasty that had ruled an empire for 300 years was forced from power by re...

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Robert Service at Chalke Valley History Festival

Robert Service at Chalke Valley History Festival

  • Hiscox Tent
    Hiscox Tent
    Hiscox Tent Church Bottom Bury Lane Salisbury, SP5 5DP UNITED KINGDOM
  • 27 June 2017 20:45
27 June 2017 08:45Z 27 June 2017 09:45Z

Robert Service is an internationally acclaimed professor of Russian history and well placed to assess Nicholas II, a man who was almost entirely out of his depth, perhaps even wilfully so. His talk...

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