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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: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,786 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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The way forward is clear as day- it is up to us to educate.
moby pablo
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
This book has some of his greatest work and it really gives you a lot of detail and what he really wanted to do.
Zane Hasan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 92 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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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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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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joel Bjorling on August 29, 2013
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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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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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19 of 27 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Blake Krawczuk on August 19, 2014
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This book requires a excess amount of knowledge of Russia circa 1880-1900ish. If you know nothing of Russi around the time of Lenin, this book will be confusing. You may have to read another book to understand it. That being said, this is a great book. It gives a lot of insight on Leninism as it was then; a growing school of thought.
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I had been interested in Vladimir Lenin since High School but never had a chance to read more on about him. Unfortunately most books on him are biased. So i finally decided that it best to read his own writings. This book has some of his greatest work and it really gives you a lot of detail and what he really wanted to do. My favorite part of the book is "Imperialism: The Highest Form of Capatilism"
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