In the immediate aftermath of the Revolution, the Western powers were anxious to prevent the spread of Bolshevism across Europe. Lenin and Trotsky were equally anxious that the Communist vision they were busy introducing in Russia should do just that. But neither side knew anything about the other. The revolution and Russia’s withdrawal from the First World War had ensured a diplomatic exodus from Moscow and the usual routes to vital information had been closed off. Into this void stepped an extraordinary collection of opportunists, journalists and spies – sometimes indeed journalists who were spies and vice versa: in Moscow Britain’s Arthur Ransome, the American John Reed and Sidney Reilly – ‘Ace of Spies’ – all traded information and brokered deals between Russia and the West; in Berlin, Paris and London, the likes of Maxim Litvinov, Adolf Ioffe and Kamenev tried to infiltrate the political elite and influence foreign policy to the Bolsheviks' advantage. Robert Service, acclaimed historian and one of our finest commentators on matters Soviet, turns his meticulous eye to this ragtag group of people and, with narrative flair and impeccable research, reveals one of the great untold stories of the twentieth century.
Lenin is a colossal figure whose influence on twentiethcentury history cannot be underestimated. Robert Service has written a calmly authoritative biography on this seemingly unknowable figure. Making use of recently opened archives, he has been able to piece together the private as well as the public life, giving the first complete picture of Lenin. This biography simultaneously provides an account of one of the greatest turning points in modern history. Through the prism of Lenin's career, Service examines events such as the October Revolution and the ideas of MarxismLeninism, the oneparty state, economic modernisation, dictatorship, and the politics of interwar Europe. In discovering the origins of the USSR, he casts light on the nature of the state and society which Lenin left behind and which have not entirely disappeared after the collapse of the Soviet regime in 1991. 'Immensely scholarly but also vivid and readable. This is a splendid book, much the best that I have ever read about Lenin ...I was overwhelmed by the power and vividness of this portrait.' Dominic Lieven, Sunday Telegraph 'He has managed skilfully to depict the surreal life of an obsessive, brilliant and stubborn individual' Guardian 'Lenin's life was politics, but Service has succeeded in keeping Lenin the man in focus throughout . . . This book deserves a place among the best studies of one of the most fascinating figures in modern istory' Harold Shukman, The Times
Drawing on a wealth of unexplored material - available for the first time since the collapse of the former Soviet Union - Robert Service's biography of Stalin is the most authoritative yet published. It concentrates not simply on Stalin as dedicated bureaucrat or serial political killer, but on a fuller assessment of his formative interactions in Georgia, his youthful revolutionary activism, his relationship with Lenin, with his family, and with his party members. 'This is effectively the first full biography since perestroika to encompass the economic, political, diplomatic, military, administrative and, above all, ideological dimensions, as well as the personal aspects of Stalin's colossal life . . . Gritty and unshowy, but enlightened by Service's compelling characterisation, magisterial analysis and dry wit, this outstanding biography of lightly worn authority, wide research and superb intuition will be read for decades' Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of STALIN: The Court of the Red Tsar Sunday Times
Almost two decades have passed since the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the USSR. Robert Service, one of our finest historians of modern Russia, sets out to examine the history of communism throughout the world. His uncomfortable conclusion and an important message for the twentyfirst century – is that although communism in its original form is now dead or dying, the poverty and injustice that enabled its rise are still dangerously alive. Unsettling, compellingly written and brilliantly argued, this is a superb work of history and one that demands to be read. ‘Bears all the hallmarks of a classic work of historical literature … the true international legacy of communism [is] analysed to magisterial effect in this exhilarating work’ Hwyel Williams New Statesman ‘One of the bestever studies of the subject … a remarkable accomplishment’ Economist ‘An outstanding book, written with grace and style’ Daily Telegraph ‘[A] brilliantly distilled world history of communism … Confronted by Service's amazing array of evidence to show that commuism could only ever have flourished under conditions of extreme and allpervasive oppression, only the determinedly softheaded would try to argue with him’ Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday
Revolutionary practitioner, theorist, factional chief, sparkling writer, ‘ladies’ man’ (e.g., his affair with Frieda Kahlo), icon of the Revolution, antiJewish Jew, philosopher of everyday life, grand seigneur of his household, father and hunted victim, Trotsky lived a brilliant life in extraordinary times. Robert Service draws on hitherto unexamined archives and on his profound understanding of Russian history to draw a portrait of the man and his legacy, revealing that though his followers have represented Trotsky as a pure revolutionary soul and a powerful intellect unjustly hounded into exile by Stalin and his henchmen. The reality is very different, as this masterful and compelling biography reveals.
La biographie de référence de Léon Trotski (1879-1940), élu " meilleur livre d'histoire 2011 " par le magazine Lire.Révolutionnaire, chef de guerre, mais aussi écrivain brillant, amoureux des femmes, juif en conflit avec ses racines, icône puis bouc émissaire et victime traquée, Léon Trotski a vécu l'une des vies les plus extraordinaires qui soient. Fondateur de l'Armée rouge, opposant à son rival Staline qui le pourchasse, à partir de 1929, en Turquie, en France puis au Mexique, sa vie s'achève dans un apogée de violence, à l'image de son existence tourmentée. Théoricien " pur " d'apparence, célébré de son vivant et jusqu'aux années 2000 comme un archange de la " bonne " révolution, cet homme aussi monstrueux que génial fut habité par l'obsession du pouvoir, sans jamais parvenir à le conserver.
Les biographies de Staline sont nombreuses, certes, mais si l'on attend d'une biographie qu'elle déroule une vie de façon anecdotique en restant fidèle à la véracité des faits, celle de Staline pourrait être multipliée à l'infini sans jamais atteindre ce but. Car que dire sur un homme qui plus qu'aucun autre dans l'histoire a manipulé les éléments biographiques et terrorisé son entourage, proche et éloigné, au point que chacun devait soigneusement mesurer ses mots ; sur un homme qui a réussi à mettre en place un régime aux oreilles multiples et hostiles, au point que même après sa mort, il n'était pas toujours prudent de parler ?
Ici, les éléments biographiques ne sont pas une fin en soi, ils servent également à alimenter une réflexion permettant de mettre en lumière certains aspects d'un personnage dont l'influence néfaste a profondément marqué l'Histoire. A travers l'histoire de Staline, sa réflexion, au delà des anecdotes et des récits de témoins, Service met en lumière la personnalité et la psychologie du dictateur.
Cette biographie est aussi un voyage à travers l'histoire du XXe siècle, en suivant le parcours d'un homme qui l'a profondément marquée. Elle s'inscrit dans la même ligne que celles de Lénine et de Trotski et en est la suite logique.
A comprehensive overview of twentieth-century Russian history that treats the years from 1917 to 2000 as a single period and analyses the peculiar mixture of political, economic and social ingredients that made up the Soviet compound. It takes the reader from the age of communist rule to the changes that occurred in 1991 and the more uncertain world of Yeltsin and Putin.
Robert Service's The Penguin History of Modern Russia: From Tsarism to the Twenty-first Century provides a superb panorama of Russia in the modern age. Russia's recent past has encompassed revolution, civil war, mass terror and two world wars, and the country is still undergoing huge change. In his acclaimed history, now revised and updated with a new introduction and final chapter, Robert Service explores the complex, changing interaction between rulers and ruled from Tsar Nicholas II, through the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917; from Lenin and Stalin through to Gorbachev, Yeltsin, Putin and beyond. This new edition also discusses Russia's unresolved economic and social difficulties and its determination to regain its leading role on the world stage and explains how, despite the recent years of de-communization, the seven decades of communist rule which penetrated every aspect of life still continue to influence Russia today.
'Always well-informed and balanced in his judgements, clear and concise in his analysis ... Service is extremely good on Soviet politics'
;; Orlando Figes, Sunday Telegraph 'A fine book ... it is a dizzying tale and Service tells it well; he has none of the ideological baggage that has so often bedevilled Western histories of Russia'
;; Brian Moynahan, Sunday Times Robert Service is a Fellow of the British Academy and of St Antony's College, Oxford. He has written several books, including the highly acclaimed Lenin: A Biography, Russia: Experiment with a People, Stalin: A Biography and Comrades: A History of World Communism, as well as many other books on Russia's past and present. His most recent book, Trotsky, has been shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize.
The Cold War had seemed like a permanent fixture in global politics, and until its denouement, no Western or Soviet politician foresaw that the stand-off between the two superpowers - after decades of struggle over every aspect of security, politics, economics and ideas - would end in their lifetimes. Even after March 1985 when Mikhail Gorbachëv became the leader of the Soviet Union it was not preordained that global nuclear Armageddon could or would be averted peaceably.But just four years later, the Berlin Wall was dismantled and perestroika spread throughout the former Soviet bloc. It was a sea change in world history, which resulted in the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Drawing on pioneering archival research, Robert Service's gripping new investigation of the final years of the Cold War pinpoints the astonishing relationships among President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachëv, Secretary of State George Shultz and the USSR's last Foreign Affairs Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, who found a way to cooperate during times of extraordinary change around the world. The story is of American pressure and Soviet long-term decline and over-stretch. The End of the Cold War shows how that small, skillful group of statesmen were determined to end the Cold War on their watch. In the process, they irreversibly transformed the global geopolitical landscape.Authoritative, compelling and meticulously researched, this is political history at its best.
Sam McGee is one of the many gold miners of the Klondike Gold Rush. The freezing-cold and harsh winter of Yukon is about to take his next victim in the face of McGee. The poor man freezes to death on the trail. The night before he passed away, McGee had asked his friend, the narrator of the story, to cremate his remains, saying that he did not want to be buried in the frozen ground. However, after the man is cremated some strange things begin to happen.
Why does McGee not want to be buried in the frozen ground? And what will happen after his cremation? Find out the answers in one of Robert W. Service's most famous poem, the 1907 "The Cremation of Sam McGee".
B. J. Harrison started his Classic Tales Podcast back in 2007, wanting to breathe new life into classic stories. He masterfully plays with a wide array of voices and accents and has since then produced over 500 audiobooks. Now in collaboration with SAGA Egmont, his engaging narration of these famous classics is available to readers everywhere.
Robert William Service (1874 - 1958) was a British-Canadian writer and poet. Before he began writing, Service worked as a bank clerk on a ranch on Vancouver Island and was therefore often called "the Bard of the Yukon". He travelled a lot in Western America and was inspired by the tales of the Klondike Gold Rush. Service's collection of poems "Songs of a Sourdough" achieved a massive success and secured him a wealthy life on the French Riviera.