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characters æ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ✓ Catherine Merridale

Lenin on the Train

characters Lenin on the Train ✓ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB A gripping account of how in the depths of the First World War Russia's greatest revolutionary was taken in a 'sealed train' across Europe and changed the history of the worldBy 1917 the European war seemed to be endless Both sides in the fighting looked to new weapons tactics and ideas to break a stalemate. I dithered a bit about whether to rate this as 3 or 4 stars In the end I went for 4 as it is a decent enough read It covers a narrower time period than I expected though The book focuses very much on the run up to the February Revolution and then on Lenin s return to Russia In fairness this is what the title actually suggests but for some reason I had expected the author to finish with the October Revolution when she actually finishes the narrative part in the summer of 1917 There is then a last chapter reviewing Lenin s legacyWe all know of course how Lenin in exile in February 1917 got back to Russia with the aid of the German government and the author also examines other German assistance and funding for the Bolsheviks Her examination is unemotional and she largely concludes that the Bolsheviks and the German government used each other for their own ends There s a lot in the book about secret agents and their activities and I had the impression the author uite likes the cloak and dagger side of history I think the strongest part of the book is the assessment of Lenin as a person He is pictured as an intensely driven man spending all his time reading writing delivering speeches and haranguing colleagues His energy was though combined with political fanaticism of the most extreme kind A Menshevik Pavel Axelrod is uoted as saying Lenin is the only man for whom revolution is the preoccupation 24 hours a day who has no thought but of revolution whilst Trotsky wrote It is not without significance that the words irreconcilable and relentless should be among Lenin s favourites For Lenin ideological purity was everything people were nothingThe last chapter provides a thoughtful assessment Before coming to power Lenin dreamed of a society with no police no army and no bureaucracy In practice the Soviet Union was dominated by these 3 aspects of state power Almost all of Lenin s closest comrades were executed by Stalin Compared to some historians the author provides low estimates for the number of innocent victims of Soviet rule suggesting that Lenin was responsible for tens of thousands of such deaths and that the number rose to the low millions across the seven decades of Soviet rule Even those numbers were bad enough but despite this miserable legacy Lenin is still viewed favourably by many people The author sets down some thoughts as to why this is soOverall I enjoyed the book but for me it didn t uite live up to the expectations generated by the blurb

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characters Lenin on the Train ✓ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB HomeCatherine Merridale's Lenin on the Train recreates Lenin's extraordinary journey from harmless exile in Zurich across a Germany falling to pieces from the war's deprivations and northwards to the edge of Lapland to his eventual ecstatic reception by the revolutionary crowds at Petrograd's Finland Stati. What that dead man has come to symbolise is a system so rotten that it does not even ualify to be described as a fossil But like fossil hunters everywhere I dreamed of stepping back into the world where it had breathedAbove are the words of author Catherine Merridale from her introduction to this fine book and I am delighted to say that she has thoroughly succeeded in recreating the world of which she speaks so much so that the reader himself can step back into it too Lenin On The Train is not a work of fiction though Merridale tells the story so well and focuses in on a seuence of events so dramatic that it would not seem out of place in a historical thriller The book describes the titular journey made by the so called sealed train from Zurich to Petrograd now Saint Petersburg with radical Soviet Vladimir Lenin and his chums rattling around in its carriages and thinking of ways to kickstart the first Communist state As we come to realise however the big picture is much complex and Merridale addresses not just the train journey but the surrounding machinations of the German government the British intelligence service and the haphazard post revolutionary government of Russia that was ripe for shaking by the incoming Lenin What results is a concise and yet original angle on both what happened during that trip and whyThis book is an excellent example of how one small moment in history can be seized upon and expanded into a full and fascinating piece of literature Lenin s sealed train tends to be left on the cutting room floor of most histories whose authors are either focused on the pre Lenin chaos of February within Russia itself or else tripping over their own feet to get to the juicy bloodshed of October Merridale however sets her sights on those few months of extraordinary tension when the course of global history could have gone in just about any direction Dredging up what seems to be every single account of the events in both English and Russian Merridale is able to recreate the stage and its players in as much eye popping clarity as any other period of the Soviet genesis Coupled with that is a very accessible and entertaining style that never seems too academic but neither does it over exaggerate to the point of sensationalism Perhaps this is what imbues the book with its capacity to make the casual reader wonder about other stuff to prompt the average Joe to actually peruse the Further Reading section and ask various uestions like Where can I find out about that intriguing man Parvus or How come Switzerland ended up bursting at the seams with all the exiled peeved off Communists living within a few streets of each other In this sense Merridale manages to make one minor event global relating it to many different countries and perspectives and indeed eventually relating it to the present state of RussiaThese detours are not always perfect though nor are they always necessary A rough estimate would suggest that pages are devoted to the misadventures of the British agents in Russia than the actual train journey itself for example Further for a book with a tendency to wander off the point somewhat the author is surprisingly damning of the work of some of her historian ancestors whom she believes have got some elements of the story all wrong all this proves however is that history is constantly being re edited and refined and one wonders how long it will take for Merridale s own work to be superseded by someone even informedAll things considered Lenin On The Train is a fascinating insight into an event whose historical importance one may not have realised before It is in my opinion essential for anyone hoping to understand the Russian revolution as a whole recommended for anyone hoping to get to grips with the complexities of the First World War and sheer immersive fun for anyone who just wants to read a properly engrossing book Best read on a literal train I should think

characters æ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ✓ Catherine Merridale

characters Lenin on the Train ✓ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB That was itself destroying Europe In the German government a small group of men had a brilliant idea why not sow further confusion in an increasingly chaotic Russia by arranging for Vladimir Ilyich Lenin the most notorious of revolutionary extremists currently safely bottled up in neutral Switzerland to go. A statesman Bismarck if I am not mistaken once said that to accept a thing in principle means in the language of diplomacy to reject it in effectVladimir Ilyich LeninThis is one of those great idea on paper sorts of projects Part of which almost always involves misaligned expectations so as reader I ll take some responsibility there StillWhat the book proposes a secret history of the clandestine ride of Vladimir Lenin from Switzerland up to the Arctic Circle and into the Revolutionary Russia of 1917 At the famous Petrograd Finland Station As the world was crashing outside in the violent catastrophe of The Great War What the author implies an untold story as Lenin s super secret sealed train car threads the needle of wartime Germany a journey packed with spies variable allegiances and intrigue Vetted by the author herself a Russia Historian who travelled the same route investigated the places and even the trains themselvesWhat this reader expected even if not a journey of blockbuster revelations at least some of the drama and jeopardy of the situation A small but pivotal moment against the grand sweep of history Undercover agents a bit of backstabbing maybe And certainly a glimmer of the Period the elemental grit and unexpected elegance of coal fired rail travel in the Nordic countries of the late teens Maybe an insight into how tea was served onboard A gas lamp here or there That sort of thing What actually happens Little turns out to be known about the train journey and the reader gets the impression that it s not what happened there but mainly that it places Lenin in Petrograd in the spring of 1917 The great mass of the book like everything else I seem to have read about the 1917 revolution is entirely bogged down in endless tedious Org Chart sorts of discussions Which collective would report to which soviet and whose interests were served what committee resolved to overturn which hierarchy s decree and how that flipped the game Until the next day when there was inevitably a new resolution or a revised previous resolution or a reconsideration of a prior position Lenin On The Train also manages to glide over the Gulag the Pogroms the Relocations Collectivizations that follow Lenin s by any means necessary strategy Which is odd in that it eventually sums these in a generic indictment of the Soviet Union A late book stretch to Gorbachev and then Putin is also very disconnected feeling On Vladimir Lenin himself the author is incisively clear Lenin knew that real peasants wanted only justice and a piece of land To force his revolution through against such odds the leader had to steel himself to play the part of Robespierre If people could not see where their true freedom lay he would impose a revolutionary dictatorship until they were prepared to understand Meanwhile he had to put himself above the ordinary ruck becoming the ideal instrument of History with a big H a new man incorruptible and without sin Make no mistake author Merridale understands Lenin and his Revolution very well indeed It s her vehicle that wobbles One of the absolute best things about the book is right on the cover in the painting of Lenin at the Finland Station I won t ruin this little wrinkle as the author herself duly pulls it out of the hat at the end of the book But you ll have to get through all the committee meetings to arrive there comrade

  • Hardcover
  • null
  • Lenin on the Train
  • Catherine Merridale
  • en
  • 08 December 2017
  • 9780241011324