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Lenin the Dictator


Victor Sebestyen's biography is the first major work in English for nearly two decades on one of the most significant figures of the twentieth century: a man who created a new kind of state that would later be imitated by nearly half the countries in the world.

While never ignoring the politics, Sebestyen focuses on the man who loved nature as much as he loved making revolution, and how his closest relationships were with women. He built a state based on terror. But the cold, one-dimensional figure of Lenin the political fanatic is a partial truth. He was a highly emotional man given to furious rages and deep passions. This portrait uses fresh archive material on how Vladimir Ilyich Lenin seized power in a coup and ran his revolutionary state. And Sebestyen sheds new light on Lenin's inner life, his relationship with his wife and his long term love affair with Inessa Armand, the most romantic and beguiling of Bolsheviks. They were the two women, as significant as the men - Stalin or Trotsky - who created the world's first Communist state with him. 

Drawing on extensive new material and sources that have only recently become available - including letters between Lenin and his mother and sisters; memoirs by his relatives; the papers of leading figures which were censored during the Soviet years, and Lenin's personal papers - Sebestyen is able greatly to enhance our understanding of this historic figure. The long-suppressed story of his ménage à trois with his wife and his mistress reveals a different character to the man of legend.

Told through the prism of Lenin's key relationships, Sebestyen's gripping biography offers an intriguing new perspective on the character behind the politics.


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