*Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror*

By Victor Sebestyen, this one definitely will make the year-end “best books” list.

For the pointer I thank M.


so little has been written about Lenin -- Google offers only 2 hits on books about him

I think Lenin is fairly well covered in the English literature. I read this book a while ago: Lenin: A Biography [Robert Service] . Robert Conquest also has a book on him.

Bonus trivia: Stalin suppressed Lenin's Last Will and Testament, do you know why? I will tell you, it's becau

That's a shame. Lenin was not only a great man but a great mind too. Americans can learn only good things from him.

To be clear: as profound as the Bible is in describing individual evildoers, there is no character in the Old Testament or the New Testament, no matter how evil, who would not be appalled to be compared to Lenin, the murderer of millions.

Poor Ulyanov was not a great man, and he did not think well about anything. He lived a disgusting life of hatred, with no love in his heart. Seriously, do not jokingly treat him as someone who was not completely utilized and co-opted by evil forces for evil purposes.

I once read someone who said that Lenin was the only man he'd ever met who was motivated solely by hatred.

But but but but.... I thought Lenin was the "good" communist!!!!

(Sorry. I was channeling my Inner SJW there.)

Read this book. It is excellent.

Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe
by Robert Gellately

Bullocks! The most excellent book on two of these dudes is "Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives".

Bonus trivia: Lenin was a good club level chess player. And Hitler, Stalin and Lenin (sounds like the start of a bad, baaad joke) all lived in Vienna for a time and may have even crossed paths socially, imagine the negative vibes! (But Hitler was the good Hitler back then, he even had Jewish friends, and he in fact saved his Jewish art teacher from the concentration camps in WWII), see: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturenews/6130672/Pictured-Hitler-playing-chess-with-Lenin.html

"Eurocentric! I was a better Marxist, a better master of terror, and a better author with my little red book having more than 6 billion copies printed!" --Chairman Mao

Is the foreword perchance written by Steve Bannon, the self-described alt-right Leninist?

Serious question: Was Lenin on any level a believer in the ideals of Communism, or was it purely a route to power for him?

Good question.

My best guess is that he was, in his 20s, an enthusiastic "classical liberal" who thought he was full of an extraordinary measure of love for the poor.
We all deceive ourselves, sometimes, particularly when we think in generic terms about how good we are ....

Then something happened, as he became more and more advanced in the hierarchy of that evil group of people - some of them completely unaware of how evil they would eventually be seen as being, after the tens of millions of their victims (all of whom were just insufficiently Communist, and for that reason were killed - you can look it up) - who were the Russian equivalents of the sad French revolutionaries of their grandparents' day.

Ulyanov was never, in his personal life, a happy guy. He never expected that an attractive woman would fall in love with him and that he would raise children in a world where people like him are encouraged to be good fathers. He was right - there was something repulsive about him from his youth. It is a mystery to all of us that anybody who is the product of two people who loved each other , and had some happy times together - and all of us are children of two people - could be so unloveable. But so many of us are!

The blame is not all on him. Yes, in his 40s and 50s he acted out in evil ways, before dying as an ugly unloved (albeit very feared) bald middle aged man whom nobody loved all that much. I could explain where he went wrong between the first moments of idealism and the later years of murder-in-his-heart. Imagine him as a late night TV host, mocking, day after day, the people he felt contempt for; and then imagine that his victims were ordinary people, who also wanted to live a good life, to smile every once in a while, to have some ice cream on a summer day, even if people like Lenin wanted them dead. Then imagine him when he was a little kid, wanting to not be nobody in this world! Pray for him.

The bottom line is this --- a long time ago, Ulyanov too was a baby, and if you saw him in his mother's lap, wearing his little baby socks or proudly wearing his first little pair of 12-18 month size baby shoes, you would have thought: God is good !

Well, God, in fact, is good, for reasons that you all know and I do not need to repeat here.

Ron Rosenbaum has written a fascinating book called "Explaining Hitler, The search for the origins of his evil". There are baby pictures of Hitler and they are discussed extensively. Some of the thinkers say that they should never be shown, because they make Hitler seem too human.

Didn't it all start out as a Trotsky-inspired "grass-roots" movement that rather went awry?

"Then something happened..." Hmmm.. kinda weak sauce there E.

I can't believe Lenin, or virtually anyone, ever saw themselves as, at bottom, in pursuit of anything other than The Good. Truly monstrous deeds on Lenin's scale are not performed by self-conscious evil or hatred- not enough fuel there - but only by The Infinite Wrath of The Righteous.

Woytinski believed Lenin was serious, Trotsky was a fake.

He certainly did believe in Communism. However, when he started it was a very long-term utopia. It was more of a theoretical idea. It became apparent to him much later, that it is possible that time is right and they can actually try to implement some of it. He had to change his ideas on the go and evolve them quite quickly to serve this purpose. The world at large and Russian Empire specifically was in pretty dire straits at this point. I would think that quick deterioration of order was very traumatizing to the society at large and Lenin as well. It is at this darker points of time, that he delved into darker corners of humans and found rage against the existing things. All had to burn and the further he went with his ideas the more he had to burn. It was a self-propelling train that was impossible to stop. Lenin couldn't do much to stop it anyways. There were too many people that were too vicious and desperate for change.

Some trivia: I was shown the apartment in Bern, Switzerland where Lenin lived before being transported to Russia by the Germans. It's in a nondescript suburb. No plaques or copper plates or statues there. Also not mentioned in tourist brochures. The internet says he liked to stay in Beatenberg, a nice mountain village and was very happy with the Bern library who would send him books there.

I think the following limerick pretty much sums Lenin up....

There was an old bastard named Lenin
Who did two or three million men in.
That's a lot to have done in
But where he did one in
That old bastard Stalin did ten in.”

― Robert Conquest

Long before WW1, when other noblemen helped famine victims, he did not. He said that they should all be let die, because that would advance hatred and communism.

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