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Lenin biography recommendations?

Submitted by xxi in books

Hi there.

I'm looking for a decent Lenin biography. I'd like to avoid bias as far as possible which sort of is the reason I'm asking for recommendations.

I'm aware of Robert Service's book on Lenin, but I've heard bad things about it. While I'm aware that Isaac Deutscher was a Trotskyist I found his series concerning Trotsky interesting and surprisingly well-balanced. So that might give people an indication of what I'm looking for.

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Dumai wrote

definitely stay away robert service, not just on lenin but on pretty much anything; his scholarship is infamously poor (my favourite example is that for the first third of his trotsky biography he calls him by the wrong forename because he assumed he was named in yiddish despite not coming from a yiddish speaking family)

there are actually surprisingly few full-length lenin biographies to the point that i've never actually read one other than service's, but i have heard that lenin: a revolutionary life by christopher read is especially good for a lay audience. again, not read it, so don't take that as an unequivocal recommendation!

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xxi wrote (edited )

I've never heard of that particular tidbit about Service, I have to look into it. The criticism I've read has mostly been pretty dry stuff. To be that wrong regarding facts is, well... Wrong, haha. Gotta look into it.

If I ever heard something about Read's book it must've been a long time ago. Feels new to me. So thank you for making me aware of it.

Edit: (forgot to write something). Concerning biographies of divisive historical figures: seems to be either that there's a lot of books about them or very few. Sure it's just a personal opinion but feels like that's the case to me.