Lenin on the Train

Lenin on the Train

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:

One of The Economist 's Best Books of the Year

A gripping, meticulously researched account of Lenin's fateful 1917 rail journey from Zurich to Petrograd, where he ignited the Russian Revolution and forever changed the world

In April 1917, as the Russian Tsar Nicholas II's abdication sent shockwaves across war-torn Europe, the future leader of the Bolshevik revolution Vladimir Lenin was far away, exiled in Zurich. When the news reached him, Lenin immediately resolved to return to Petrograd and lead the revolt. But to get there, he would have to cross Germany, which meant accepting help from the deadliest of Russia's adversaries. Millions of Russians at home were suffering as a result of German aggression, andto accept German aid--or even safe passage--would be to betray his homeland. Germany, for its part, saw an opportunity to further destabilize Russia by allowing Lenin and his small group of revolutionaries to return.

Now, in Lenin on the Train , drawing on a dazzling array of sources and never-before-seen archival material, renowned historian Catherine Merridale provides a riveting, nuanced account of this enormously consequential journey--the train ride that changed the world--as well as the underground conspiracy and subterfuge that went into making it happen. Writing with the same insight and formidable intelligence that distinguished her earlier works, she brings to life a world of counter-espionage and intrigue, wartime desperation, illicit finance, and misguided utopianism.

When Lenin arrived in Petrograd's now-famous Finland Station, he delivered an explosive address to the impassioned crowds. Simple and extreme, the text of this speech has been compared to such momentous documents as Constantine's edict of Milan and Martin Luther's ninety-five theses. It was the moment when the Russian revolution became Soviet, the genesis of a system of tyranny and faith that changed the course of Russia's history forever and transformed the international political climate.

Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company, ©2017.
ISBN: 9781627793018
Characteristics: xi, 353 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations (some colour), maps, portraits ;,25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

May 20, 2018

An interesting narrative history.

Feb 11, 2018

I would not believe everything this book says. Does it make use of English and American archives too, to try tell the "truth?" If you want to have a complete picture of how Lenin's commi revolution came by, read the following books as well: Anthony Sutton - Wall Street And The Bolshevik Revolution" and Ted Flynn - "Hope Of The Wicked." Lenin went from London thru Switzerland and Germany to Russia in a sealed train. OK, who were there with him in that train? (200 British Agents). Who taught Lenin what to do in Russia? English bankers. Who financed Lenin's revolution? Wall street bankers, including Averill Harriman, who later on was sent to Stalin's Russia as Ambassador of the USA. Who guarded the Trans-Siberian railway in 1919 against Japanese attacks? American soldiers (see Anthony Sutton's book). Communism was not the invention of Lenin. First there was the Paris Commune in 1789-1793, then English bankers hired Karl Marx in 1840 to write down the communist/anti-capitalist theory, and then came Lenin in 1905 and 1917. The West was very much involved in creating Communism in Russia, whereas they were allies of Russia in WW1. And who financed the Japanese to attack Russia in the Far East? The Americans (read Ted Flynn's book). One thing this book here tells is true: history is a tangle of plots, and the public never knows what is really happening, and what is its purpose. So, read those book of Sutton and Ted Flynn and create an approximate picture in your logical mind. By the way, if the Germans wanted to screw up Russia (their enemy), thereby getting rid of the Eastern Front successfully, then they should have won WW1. But instead, their Emperor held up his hands and said: "we lost." So, why did the West helped create Communism, to help their "enemies" (Germany) by screwing up Russia (their ally)? Well, there is the "rub," the hidden purpose for the longer run (divide and conquer, and rearrange the world).

Feb 08, 2018

this engrossing story reads like a novel, about a train ride, however apparently trivial, that profoundly changed history, a pivot for everything globally that consequently occurred - entirely, and even importantly, worth reading, a history most of us have wondered about but have never known

multcolib_susannel Oct 16, 2017

After all the double agents are done it is amazing the train carried Lenin anywhere at all!
Author made good use of recently opened Russian archive.

Aug 17, 2017

Here's how the world really turns. If you want to know how revolutions begin and the kinds of mayhem we are experiencing right here under the Trump administration, start with Lenin right here on page one. Too heavy to read in bed there's a lot of background information in "Train" but worth staying up to read. A graduate seminar on any political movement.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at Library

To Top