This year is the centenary of the seizure of power by Lenin and the creation of the Soviet State. There have been a number of books out there memorializing the event. This is in my opinion the most satisfactory because it gives the best selection of his political thought and personal peak in his relations to his fellow revolutionaries.
The philosopher Slavoj Zizek selected the papers collected and wrote an introduction to his life, times, and thought. He takes a big picture approach, periodically wondering and offering answers as to what went wrong with the Soviet experiment, and placing Lenin in light of the present political situation.
His introduction is not only intended for intermediate or advanced students in political theory. If you have a running knowledge of world history for the last fifty or sixty years you should do fine, because this is really where Leninism takes a real beating. The collapse of Soviet Russia certainly did not help, but nor did the abdication, voluntary or otherwise, of leftist thinkers or movements. Reading between the lines, the forces which killed Leninism were already at work far before the person perished. His conflict with Stalin is seen as emblematic of tensions were have been present since the French Revolution. In addition, as with Capitalism, inherent contradictions in the revolutionary movement which brought Lenin into power hastened the ascendancy of Stalin, despite the personal antipathy between them. Ever the Hegelian, Zizek analyzes these tensions in a clear and cogent manner.
My first reaction on receiving this book was to return it, thinking, what possible relevance would Lenin have today? I kept and read the book, ultimately glad I did, because did Leninism ever have a chance to be implemented?
This is recommended and is a good introduction.
- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (1 November 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1786631881
- ISBN-13: 978-1786631886
- Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.5 x 21.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 431 g
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- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 95,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)