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Essential Works of Lenin: "What Is to Be Done?" and Other Writings Paperback – May 1, 1987


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; First Edition edition (May 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486253333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486253336
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Russian (translation)

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Customer Reviews

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That being said, this is a great book.
Blake Krawczuk
His theory on the development of the class conscious and importance of professional revolutionaries were amazing and showed the vision that this genius held.
Robert Rezendes
The way forward is clear as day- it is up to us to educate.
moby pablo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Caligastia145 on September 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is the book to start with if you with to understand the great man who was Vladimir Ilych Lenin. This book contains 3 of Lenin's greatest works, those being What Is To Be Done?, Imperialism : The Highest Stage of Capitalism, and The State and Revolution. It also includes The Development of Capitalism in Russia, which explains what the title states. My only dissappointment with this book is that it did not contain Left-wing Communism : An Infantile Disorder. Read this book and get to know the real Vladimir Ilych Lenin.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Pearse O'Sullivan on September 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a great intro to Lenin, in his own words, so you don't have to care about anyone else's bias and you see for yourself what the man is all about. Further reading that would complement this would be 'Lenin's Struggle For A Revolutionary International'.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Will Jerom on August 11, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Essential Works of Lenin does provide a remarkably concise introduction to Lenin's thought. It will not be easy for the novice reader, so a perusal of The Communist Manifesto, or other introductory writings will be important to get a firm grasp on Lenin's Marxist views. The final 90 page chapter "The State and Revolution" may be the most accessible and intelligible of Lenin's views; much of the earlier portions of this 364 page book deal with Lenin's critique of other socialists who have deviated from true Marxism (this is the most difficult part to read, because it assumes a knowledge of his historical context). The book then, is a good one, but introductory exposure to Marxist thought will help. It does provide a valuable, concise biography of Lenin in the introduction.
That aside, let us turn to a critique of Lenin's thought. Lenin was a very intelligent critic of capitalism, with many penetrating insights into the function and abuses of a capitalist economy. It is not that Marxism was based on a complete illusion, but that it was based on a partially-true, compelling illusion that perhaps makes it so seductive, and so dangerous. I dissent, for example, in thinking that only the "dictatorship of the proletariat" can supplant the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and that somehow a freer, fuller democracy will result from a worker-managed society in which the state will subsequently "wither away." History demonstrated that instead of withering away, the Communists party only solidified its tyranny over the masses, and substituted one dictatorship for another. That Lenin or Marx possessed a real historical "science" of political-economy I think has been disproved.
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30 of 42 people found the following review helpful By C. E. R. Mendonça on January 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
I made an earlier jokingly one-liner that does not justice to the book- or to Lenin. What I think should looked for in this book is exactly the following: that Lenin was the first marxist ever not to consider the development of class consciousness a kind of spontaneous outgrowth of the concrete existence of a working class. Therefore the necessity for politics - specially party politics - to take precedence in marxist analysis over pure economic analysis. This jump in esentials was made by Lenin very early in life, as his _Development of Capitalism in Russia_, written in his late twenties, is still a prime piece of economicistic marxism; _What is to be done?_ is already a prime owrk of a new, politics-first, approach. One may think whatever one wants of the solutions found by Lenin - abaove all the party of professional revolutionists, disciplined and centralized, but one may not deny him the fact that it was him who first made a new kind of marxist approach to issues that is still very much with us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joel Bjorling on August 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book consists of several shorter books:THE DEVELOPMENT OF CAPITALISM IN RUSSIA (excerpts), WHAT IS TO BE DONE?, IMPERIALISM: THE HIGHEST STAGE OF CAPITALISM, and THE STATE AND REVOLUTION. Topics discussed are trade unions, the new role of banks, imperialism, the decay of capitalism, and a Marxist view of the state.
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18 of 26 people found the following review helpful By David I. Walsh on June 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a fine introduction to the thinking of one of the few people in the world who really influenced the tide of history. Along with Leon Trotsky and the Bolshevik Party, Lenin helped establish the first state that was ruled by and for the working class. What went wrong with the revolution is best dealt with by reading Trotsky.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Antonis on July 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Lenin was a dedicated revolutionary, the leader of the Bolshevik Party and a Marxist, who gained power and influence by sieging the control of Russia from the Provisional Government of Kerensky in 1917, thus creating the Soviet Union, the first so called communist state.

Lenin was not a mainstream Marxist, and thus his political ideas and contributions have formed a sub-branch ideology, called Leninism (or Marxism-Leninism). The works contained in this book express the main ideas that differentiate Lenin from the mainstream Marxism of his time, mainly, that a revolution can be achieved by a small group of "professional revolutionaries" instead of the proletariat class, and that the capitalist phase of human society theorized as necessary by Karl Marx to reach Communism, can be surpassed. The book also contains Lenin's criticism on the Socialist political parties of the time.
Every communist state that has emerged in the 20th century draws some significant influence from Lenin (rather that Marx), and subsequently, ideologies such as Trotskyism, Stalinism and Maoism, were heavenly influenced by Leninism (often claiming to be its continuation). One therefore can see that Lenin's influence to the modern world has been enormous, as Lenin's ideas have become the basis of modern communism. No matter where you stand on Lenin and Communism, read this book, and have a better understanding of an idea that has affected modern history, possibly more than any other in the last century.

If there is a single book to read by Lenin, read this one. His greatest works are included, giving a clear understanding of Leninism to the reader, and although the book can be dense, hard, and even boring at times, it is in my opinion, best to read these ideas from Lenin himself rather than from an author that may misrepresent him.
The Dover Edition, is again, simply excellent.
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