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Book Title: Lenin And The Russian Revolution|
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The author of the book: Christopher Hill
Edition: Palmer Press
Date of issue: August 26th 2016
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 5.28 MB
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You have to know two things about this book. First, it was written in 1947. Second, it was written by a Communist. It is important to know these things because, while this is a well written, concise, and insightful book on its subjects, it suffers from several major flaws resulting from these two facts.
For one, in 1947 the Soviet Union stood as the liberator of half of Europe from Nazism. It was an erstwhile ally of the west and a rapidly industrialising superpower. At that point, the whole Soviet experiment might have been deemed a success. Of course, we now know that it was doomed, though that might only have been apparent to some more astute economists in 1947.
Another problem is the lack of access to sources. Any account of the murderous mayhem of the 1930s is totally absent. The Kulaks simply "wither away" in the way the Communist state never quite got around to doing. In fact, several millions of them were brutally slaughtered by the Communists.
This brings us to Hill's communism. He was a member of the Communist Party Historians Group. To his lasting shame, unlike E. P. Thompson, he remained in the party after the brutal crackdown in Hungary in 1956. One wonders if his whitewashing of the history of the Soviet Union is entirely down to the the sources available to him. Hill's bizarre, glowing account of the Soviet occupation of eastern Europe post-World War Two suggests not.
All that said, Lenin was one of the most remarkable men of the 20th century and this book gives a very clear idea of why. With its authors biases in mind, it is not a bad introduction.
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Read information about the authorJohn Edward Christopher Hill was the pre-eminent historian of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English history, and one of the most distinguished historians of recent times. Fellow historian E.P. Thompson once referred to him as the dean and paragon of English historians.
He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford. During World War II, he served in the Russian department of the British Foreign Office, returning to teach at Oxford after the war.
From 1958-1965 he was University Lecturer in 16th- and 17th-century history, and from 1965-1978 he was Master of Balliol College. He was a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and of the British Academy. He received numerous honorary degrees over the course of his career, including the Hon. Dr. Sorbonne Nouvelle in 1979.
Hill was an active Marxist and a member of the Communist Party from approximately 1934-1957, falling out with the Party after the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian uprisings of 1956.
In their obituary, The Guardian wrote of Hill:
"Christopher Hill…was the commanding interpreter of 17th-century England, and of much else besides.…it was as the defining Marxist historian of the century of revolution, the title of one of the most widely studied of his many books, that he became known to generations of students around the world. For all these, too, he will always be the master." [http://www.theguardian.com/news/2003/...]
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