Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Driven by ideological zeal, he reshaped Russia and made communism into a potent global force

Not long after the Bolsheviks had seized power in 1917, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin filled out a bureaucratic questionnaire. For occupation, he wrote "man of letters." So it was that a son of the Russian intelligentsia, a radical straight from the pages of Dostoyevsky's novel The Possessed, became the author of mass terror and the first concentration camps ever built on the European Continent.

Lenin was the initiator of the central drama--the tragedy--of our era, the rise of totalitarian states. A bookish man with a scholar's habits and a general's tactical instincts, Lenin introduced to the 20th century the practice of taking...

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