Conspirator

Conspirator

Hardback

By (author) Helen Rappaport

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  • Publisher: Hutchinson
  • Format: Hardback | 400 pages
  • Dimensions: 158mm x 236mm x 36mm | 680g
  • Publication date: 1 May 2010
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0091930936
  • ISBN 13: 9780091930936
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations maps,
  • Sales rank: 776,467

Product description

"Conspirator" is the compelling story of Lenin in exile. It tells how, for seventeen years, he lived a hand-to-mouth existence outside Russia, working towards the upheaval that in 1917 transformed the political landscape of Europe: the Russian Revolution. Constantly watched by the secret police, the arch conspirator and his cohorts were dependent on the protection of a shadowy network of like-minded friends and supporters. Obsessive, penniless and driven, they took huge risks to publish and smuggle back into Russia the samizdat literature that spread their message. Lenin was always on the move, between the great cities of Europe - Paris, London, Geneva, Brussels and Munich - and the rural backwaters of Finland and Poland. He led an uncertain life, often under assumed names, fleeing lodgings at a moment's notice and frequently short of food. Helen Rappaport's lively account describes Lenin's triumphs and the conflicts, personal and political, with those who shared his exile. She builds up a vivid picture of Russian emigre life and of how Lenin and the Bolsheviks worked to achieve his vision of a Soviet social democracy. She also explores the toll that their extraordinary existence took not just on Lenin but on the loyal group that surrounded him, and particularly on the women in his life: his long-suffering wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, his mother-in-law, and his mistress, Inessa Armand, as well as his mother and sisters back home. This is a book alive with fascinating detail, from Lenin's 1908 visit to the celebrated writer Maxim Gorky in Capri for a restorative holiday, to his trips to the working-men's music halls of Montmartre in Belle Epoque Paris, and the story of the London detective who kept Lenin under surveillance, hiding in a cupboard in a room above a pub in Islington as the fledgling party congress fomented revolution. With much new material from rare and previously overlooked sources, "Conspirator" puts Lenin's pre-revolutionary struggle for change in Russia into the wider context of the international socialist movement, revealing the human side of this revolutionary figure. It is an unrivalled portrait of Lenin in the making.

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Author information

Helen Rappaport is an historian and Russianist with a specialism in the Victorians and revolutionary Russia. Her books include Ekaterinburg: The Last Days of the Romanovs and No Place for Ladies: The Untold Story of Women in the Crimean War. She lives in Oxford. For more information, you can visit her website at www.helenrappaport.com

Review quote

"Vivid ... Lenin's ruthless determination to seize power in October 1917 probably owed much to his awareness that he had but one chance to escape the world of paranoia and conspiracy in which he had operated for so long, and that Rappaport evokes so successfully." -- Nick Rennison Sunday Times "Helen Rappaport presents an exhaustive, almost week-by-week account of this period when the great Bolshevik (at times, almost the only Bolshevik) and his wife Nadya hopped from one European city to another, dodging secret policemen, living from hand to mouth and tirelessly writing, debating, organising, plotting, plotting, plotting ..." -- Roger Hutchinson Scotsman "In Helen Rappaport's vivid account, we finally have a worthy counterpart to Simon Sebag Montefiore's Young Stalin" -- George Eaton New Statesman "Pretty much essential reading for anyone interested in Russian history" -- Scott Pack "A spirited history of Lenin's life in exile, which provides an unfamiliar view of the revolutionary as a fugitive" -- Robert Service The Independent