A century after the Bolsheviks seized power for communism, Tariq Ali chooses some of the best books about an uprising that changed the world forever
A hundred years after the Russian Revolution, history, according to most historians, had pronounced its judgment. October 1917 had been relegated to a past that would never be repeated, just like the tumbrils in Paris in 1793 or Charles I’s public execution outside the palace at Westminster. History doesn’t repeat itself, not even as a farce, but its echoes remain.
What I wanted to do in The Dilemmas of Lenin: Terrorism, War, Empire, Love, Revolution was to place Lenin in proper historical context as an extremely gifted political strategist and thinker who, more than any other historical figure, dominated the shape of the last century. To achieve this meant studying in detail the two streams of political thought – anarcho-terrorism and European social democracy – that Lenin absorbed and transcended to create a new synthesis.