The Christian Science Monitor

'Lenin' illuminates one of history's most destructive leaders

Lenin: The Man, the Dictator, and the Master of Terror is the best biography I’ve read in years, despite its being about one of the most destructive leaders in history. It takes Victor Sebestyen less than five pages to perform the hardest of all literary tricks: making the person he’s writing about seem like a familiar human being. What makes that “Master of Terror” knowable is acknowledging his strengths – he certainly had them – his peculiarities (there were plenty), and his character. “What people could see straight away, from his first days as a revolutionary 'agitator,' was a single-minded man of iron discipline and unshakeable belief that he was right....” 

I had never understood

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