Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Book: Lah T. Lih's biography of Lenin

Lenin - Did the British try to assassinate him?

Lenin by Lars T. Lih

Lenin (1870–1924) was the leader of the communist Bolshevik party and founder of the Soviet Union. A key revolutionary thinker who spent much of his 30-year political career in exile, he went from relative obscurity to world fame in 1917 when the October Revolution made his party responsible for Russia's future.

In this book Lars T. Lih presents a striking new interpretation of Lenin's political outlook. The standard view portrays Lenin as a pessimist with a dismissive view of the revolutionary potential of the workers. This book reveals that beneath the sharp polemics, Lenin was more a romantic enthusiast than a sour pragmatist, one who imposed meaning on the whirlwind of events happening around him by seeing them through the lens of his own heroic scenario of class leadership.

This concise biography is based on wide-ranging new research that puts Lenin into the context both of Russian society and 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 personal outlook.

Using contemporary photographs, posters and prints, Lih illustrates the emotional and physical features of Lenin's world. A vivid and non-partisan portrait of a key figure in modern history, Lenin will appeal to a wide range of readers.

Lars T. Lih is an independent scholar who has written widely on Soviet history. His books include Bread and Authority in Russia, 1914–1921 (1990), the English-language edition of The Stalin-Molotov Letters, 1925–1936 (1995) and Lenin Rediscovered: 'What is to be Done?' In Context (2006).

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