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18 November 2018

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Conspirator: Lenin in Exile, by Helen Rappaport

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 by the author of The Last Days of the Romanovs.

One might think it tells us little to learn how Lenin disliked British food (but loved the buttered muffins), how he and Trotsky attended and participated in public debates in London, or how Lenin bullied fellow expat revolutionaries, but personalities drive history and Lenin had a monstrously huge one. 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.

— Paul E. Richardson

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Reviewed in Russian Life: Mar/Apr 2010