During an interview on television in the summer of , Alexander A. I. Solzhenitsyn, Lenin v Tsiurikhe (Paris, ); Lenin in Zurich (New York,. ). Chapters from Solzhenitsyn’s planned multi-volume work on war and revolution. Whether it is fiction Lenin in Zurich. by Alexander Solzhenitsyn Reviewed by. This excerpt from Solzhenitsyn’s projected multi-volume work on the Russian Revolution shows Lenin stewing in Switzerland during World War.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Separate publication of chapters on Vladimir Lenin, none of them published before this point, from The Red Wheel.
Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. The book–let’s call it that–is a psychological study of Lenin as a frustrated emigre revolutionary who had missed the action in the abortive Revolution of and finds himself holed up in Zurich, willfully keeping pace with his revolutionary monomania by writing, reading, and corresponding with other revolutionary socialists, ultimately to be known as communists.
Here’s a taste of it: But what’s really important about the book is the portrait of Lenin’s relentless determination to expose soft revolutionaries those who would not start with violence and emphasize violence in revolution above all other initial measures and bring down the czar. How does one survive decades of failed conferences, idiotic alliances, betrayals, theoretical debates, detailed research into the history of revolution, and so forth?
Well, one has to be relatively iron-willed and not a little monomaniacal. There’s little evidence I know of that contradicts Solzhenitsyn’s portrait of Lenin. He was a bully and a schemer who reminds me of the negotiating style of one Washington potentate I knew: The almost unimaginable horror Lenin, followed by Stalin, unleashed on the Russian people, isn’t really present in the book because it ends before he takes power, but there’s no mistaking his belief in violence, his constant counsel and measuring stick.
Are you willing to shoot, club, start fires, bomb, and create mayhem? If so, let’s conspire together. In a way it was an odd approach, given Lenin’s basic nature as an intellectual, not a hunter, a fighter himself, or anything of the sort, but he had come to this conclusion intellectually, and it is a constant theme throughout Solzhenitsyn’s book.
Of course Solzhenitsyn, who suffered under communism, must have hated Lenin, and yet with artistic fortitude and imagination, grounded in substantial research, he portrays the bald little man with the slits for eyes with compelling fidelity and in disturbing detail.
This is something of a Shakespearian or Dostoevskian performance: What “we literary types” and many “journalistic types,” too, often lack is an appreciation for politics as endless, grubby, conversation-by-conversation, argument-by-argument, failure-by-failure work.
Solzhenitsyn excels here in decompressing the refined image of Lenin at the barricades and letting us see his endlessly disciplined, boring, often fruitless efforts to get to those barricades. He does it by staying so close to this repugnant man, mastering his twisted relations with his fellow revolutionaries and rivals, and recreating an epoch that, until it occurred, seemed like it might never occur–that instead of the barbaric thing that became Soviet communism might have taken shape as some kind of parliamentary leftism, social democratic style.
True, some of them are beyond characterization in their banality Hitler, curiously enough, was just such solzehnitsyn personal nothing when lacking an audience; he was as much a mirror as a man but the Herods, the Wolzhenitsyn, the Maos, and a host of other power-mongering demons give the writer something to rejoice in: Power is coarsening, the lust for it is coarsening, but men and women who seek it often are riveting. That’s the case in this book.
Aug 06, Patrick Peterson rated it really liked it Shelves: So I read the whole book in just a few days. I found the book fascinating and very historically insightful about the character of Lenin, what he was doing in Zurich during WWI in p 6 Aug.
I found the book fascinating and very historically insightful about the character of Lenin, what he was doing in Zurich during WWI in preparation for the Russian Revolution.
How he treated his wife, the few supporters and followers he had in the city, and how he worked with a sympathetic Russian businessman to get an agreement with the German government to provide a sealed train passage from Zurich across Germany to get to St.
Petersburg to make the Bolshevik Revolution happen. Not all that long, and quite gripping history, though I have read reviews that say alexanver is a fictionalized account. Mar 07, Simon Mcleish rated it it was lnin. Originally published on my blog here in June As the title suggests, Lenin in Zurich is Solzhenitsyn’s novelisation akexander the time spent by Lenin in Switzerland during the First World War, before he returned to Russia in to begin the revolution.
The book follows on from August The major part of allexander novel comprises chapters from a longer work, which means that you start with chapter 22 and it zurcih fo Originally published on my blog here in June The major part of the novel comprises chapters from a longer work, which means that you start with chapter 22 and it is followed by chapter 49 – a little disconcerting.
I’m a little surprised it was printed in this form, as it is quite a short novel around a fifth of the length of August The missing chapters do not make you feel any lack of continuity except for the jumps in chapter numbers. I didn’t enjoy the book, and the main reason for this was that Solzhenitsyn is totally unwilling to concede that any of the originators of the revolution might have had a pleasant, non-hypocritical thought.
He writes the character of Lenin himself in the first person, and most solzhenitsn the thoughts he ascribes to him are contemptuous of the masses, of the aristocrats and of the bourgeois.
His driving urge is seen to be to increase his personal standing by breaking up any movement within the socialists which looks toward anyone other than himself. The other leaders – of whom Lenin is also contemptuous – are not portrayed in any better light.
Surely at least some of these people must have believed in what they were doing; surely at least some of them must have felt that a revolution would help people? I have felt that Solzhenitsyn’s standards went down after he moved to the West – or before that, when his output became more documentary in style rather than novelistic.
He has zurih himself to be overcome zuriich his bitterness, and a one-sided writing style results.
Lenin in Zürich
In the earlier books, the non-prisoners are just as much victims as the prisoners, and this makes everything work much better. Jan lejin, Chris rated it really liked it. For me, the attraction of Solzhenitsyn’s work isn’t necessarily the craft of his storytelling so much as the stories he tells, and surely the story of a revolutionary leader in the dark days leading up to a cataclysmic historical event is a story worth telling.
That the retelling of Lenin’s time in Zurich is inextricably bound up in Solzhenitsyn’s own life story adds extra layers of complexity to the narrative. The presentation of Lenin’s interior monologues, while certainly based on a wealth of For me, the attraction of Solzhenitsyn’s work isn’t necessarily the craft of his storytelling so much as the stories he tells, and surely the story of a revolutionary leader in the dark days leading up to a cataclysmic historical event is a story worth telling.
The presentation of Lenin’s interior monologues, while certainly based on a wealth of material, cannot be alezander from the political solzhenitysn of the author, and that surely adds to the unflattering portrait. And yet that portrait rings true, especially to a reader who’s spent any time in with contemporary leftists. The self-absorption, despair, arrogance, and refusal to act for esoteric reasons of theory ring all too true. You leave this book with the impression that, had the historical die been cast a slightly different way, Lenin would be no different than the grumbling anarchists I took bonghits with a decade ago.
It’s a humanizing portrait of Lenin, but one which informs how his cult was established. This book consists of excerpts from solzhenitstn Red Wheel series. It is Solzhenitsyn’s recreation, from Lenin’s point of view, based on Lenin’s and his associates’ writings, of his life in exile unsuccessfully trying to promote Socialist revolution among the Swiss shortly before and during the February Revolution in Russia.
Because it is a collection of excerpts, the narrative has a disjointed feel, but it succeeds in conveying the atmosphere of life in Switzerland during World War I, and introduces the This book consists of excerpts from the Red Wheel series.
Because it is a collection of excerpts, the narrative has a disjointed feel, but it succeeds in conveying the atmosphere of life in Switzerland during World War I, and introduces the reader to several figures prominent in the Socialist solzehnitsyn, including Lenin’s wife Nadya Krupskaya, girlfriend Inessa Armand, associates like Parvus, Radek, Sklarz, and others.
It includes the collaboration between Parvus, Lenin, and representatives of the Kaiser’s government that brought about the famous “sealed train” voyage that repatriated the Russian Socialist exiles from Switzerland in order to undermine alexandsr Russian war effort but that ended by destroying very much more.
Feb 16, Jenny rated it liked solzhenitsyj. Solzhenitsyn’s prose zrich the main reason that I gave this three stars. It’s unfinished, but it still feels too chaotic.
LENIN IN ZURICH by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn | Kirkus Reviews
I like the insight S. The zuricch itself jumps around. I couldn’t tell if I was reading something happening “now” or something that had happened in the past of the book Solzhenitsyn’s prose is the main reason that I gave this three stars. I couldn’t tell if I was reading something happening lehin or something that had happened in the past of the book itself. It’s interesting to get an inside view of the Russian Revolution ofbut I wish that it was a clearer view.
I can’t really recommend this book, only because it doesn’t feel like a book to me. It feels like a compilation of notes on a subject that the author wasn’t really sure he wanted to write about.
I read this as a follow-up to his Augustas it contains the missing censored Chapter Solzhenitsyn applies his in-depth studies of Lenin to give an insight into the thinking of the solzhenityn, dramatized for us. Invaluable for those of us who know little of the incestuous world of revolutionary socialism. This damned muddle over permanent revolution was another reason why he, Parvus I read this as a follow-up to his Augustas it contains the missing censored Chapter This damned bby over permanent revolution was another reason why he, Parvus and Trotsky had quarrelled.
As though they riding behind each other on a merry-go-round, they had all at different times moved to this position, and as each of them emerged from its shadow he zuricj insisted that the other two were wrong.
The other two were always somewhere ahead or still far solzhenutsyn. May 03, David Harris rated it liked it Shelves: I enjoyed this, although it was a bit disjointed and possibly a little biased Though Solzhenitsyn is usually jn immaculate researcher. Not a brilliant storyline but a fascinating insight into the life on one of the most important men of the 20th century.
Mar 20, Eszter Balazs rated it really liked it. Once that is done, it is an exciting read about Lenin’s last years before returning to Russia and starting the communist Soviet Union experiment. May 16, Ray Evangelista rated it it was amazing. I want to read all historical Fiction books because of this book, providing solzhenitsyj motivations for historical characters turned into normal people.
May 20, Jinsie rated it it was ok Shelves: To an extent this highlights my stark ambivalence about the novel. I have a lot of time for Solzhenitsyn’s prose, even as he interpolates his nuanced and sensitive psychological study with obtusely dense historical nitty-gritty.
This is of a piece with his take on Lenin – a man whose head is almost literally splitting from an internal whirlwind of ambitions, failures and constraints. I was neither expecting nor hankering for a hagiography, alezander it becomes evident once you’re into the woods here that Solzhenitsyn’s M. Unfortunately, so delicate is his writing at times that he inadvertently begins to flesh out a sympathetic character with human frailty; and by the time we come to the damp-squib final chapter which counts on the reader’s sense of myopic nationalism to generate outrage, well, the author has zurixh into petty asides that undermine the potential power of any deeper critique.
It’s almost as if he was on his way there, but just couldn’t help digging the knife in at inopportune moments. This is especially tragic as the scope of Solzhenitsyn’s research and insight into the period is frequently impressive, if sometimes erring on the side of seemingly transcribing his notes.