"Since the birth of Soviet Russia, Vladimir Lenin has been viewed as a controversial figure, revered and reviled for his rigid political ideals. He continues to fascinate as a man who made history, and created the first Communist state, a model that would later be imitated by nearly half the countries in the world. Drawing on new research, including the diaries, memoirs, and personal letters of both Lenin and his friends, Victor Sebestyen's biography--the first in English in nearly two decades--is not only a political examination of one of the most important historical figures of the twentieth century, but a portrait of Lenin the man. Lenin was someone who loved nature, hunting, fishing and could identify hundreds of species of plants, a despotic ruler whose closest ties and friendships were with women. The long-suppressed story of the complex love triangle Lenin had with his wife, and his mistress and comrade, reveals a different character to the coldly one-dimensional figure of the legend. Sebestyen also reveals Lenin as a ruthless and single-minded despot and a 'product of his time and place: a violent, tyrannical and corrupt Russia.' He seized power in a coup, promised a revolution, a socialist utopia for the people, offered simple solutions to complex issues and constantly lied; in fact, what he created was more 'a mirror image of the Romanov autocracy.' He authorized the deaths of thousands of people, and created a system based on the idea that political terror against opponents was justified for the greater ideal. One of his old comrades who had once admired him said he 'desired the good... but created evil.' And that would include his invention of Stalin, who would take Lenin's system of the gulag and the secret police to new heights"-- Provided by publisher.