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Honeyburn Books (UK)

1976*1st* Lenin In Zurich - Alexander Solzhenitsyn (Book Club)

1976*1st* Lenin In Zurich - Alexander Solzhenitsyn (Book Club)

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This excerpt from Solzhenitsyn's projected multi-volume work on the Russian Revolution shows Lenin stewing in Switzerland during World War I, from 1914 to the spring of 1917, when, with the assistance of the German government, he returned to Russia to turn the liberal February Revolution into a Bolshevik seizure of power. Solzhenitsyn's Lenin is a pudgy, compulsive, humorless fellow, chronically frustrated by finances and colleagues. Interior monologue—which lacks the genuine empathy of Solzhenitsyn's earlier fiction—depicts his vexed relationship with French revolutionary Inessa Armand (his lover) and with his wife Natalya, who "stayed, determined never to stand in his way. Never to show her hurt. To train herself not to feel it." Solzhenitsyn also suggests that Lenin, while ruthless, was no creative architect of revolution but found himself caught off guard by events and prone to failures of nerve. It was the intriguer Parvus who, on behalf of the Germans, really made things work. The details of the German connection are the fruit of Solzhenitsyn's detective work; he claims to have discovered major new evidence in Zurich, though his bibliography cites only standard primary and secondary sources. Despite Solzhenitsyn's determination to reduce Lenin to small, neurotic size, the book is good fun as historical reconstruction and an intriguing installment in the writer's effort to prove that the Russian Revolution was a vast misfortune.

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