Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire

Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire

by David Remnick


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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
One of the Best Books of the Year: The New York Times 

From the editor of The New Yorker: a riveting account of the collapse of the Soviet Union, which has become the standard book on the subject. Lenin’s Tomb combines the global vision of the best historical scholarship with the immediacy of eyewitness journalism. Remnick takes us through the tumultuous 75-year period of Communist rule leading up to the collapse and gives us the voices of those who lived through it, from democratic activists to Party members, from anti-Semites to Holocaust survivors, from Gorbachev to Yeltsin to Sakharov. An extraordinary history of an empire undone, Lenin’s Tomb stands as essential reading for our times. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679751250
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/28/1994
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 588
Sales rank: 168,682
Product dimensions: 5.15(w) x 7.98(h) x 1.25(d)

About the Author

David Remnick was a reporter for The Washington Post for ten years, including four in Moscow. He joined The New Yorker as a writer in 1992 and has been the magazine’s editor since 1998. His most recent book is The Bridge, a biography of Barack Obama. His previous book, King of the World, a biography of Muhammad Ali, was selected by Time as the top nonfiction book of the year. Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire won a Pulitzer Prize.

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Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A Washington Post writer investigating revisionist history crumble? Not what you would expect from a newspaper who pushed Soviet propoganda through out the Cold War. But David Remick goes to the heart of the matter, the formerly pooh-poohed Katyn Forest and the murder of the entire Polish military officers by ... the Soviets... And he does not let up from there. A must read for any serious modern and current events history buff.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book offers many valuable facts about the USSR, encompassed in interviews with key figures, dissidents, central and local party officials, the apparatchiks and the ordinary Soviet citizens.

But a lot more important and interesting than that are the insights the author has gained, as a result of witnessing the last years of the USSR. I used to think only communism citizens would possess these insights. For example, the book compares the Soviet Communism party with the 'most gigantic Mafia ' machinery mankind ever knows, with its system of kickbacks, grafts, obsession for obsolete power and control over people, its usage of terror as the basis of power ... You must be living there, suffering in all aspects of your daily life without an escape route, having to accept it as the ONLY way to live, to get a true feeling.

Therefore, I am surprised to see that the author has such a deep understanding about the inner working of a Communist state as well as the feelings of its citizens.

I grew up in South VN after the VN war ended and when the winning communists began to implement their kind of regime. I saw the Soviet history repeated in VN and Cambodia during the 75-85 years: mass imprisonment, failed social re-engineering, farm collectivisation, the racial discrimination, the terrorizing monopoly of the Party in worldly and spiritual life .. From what I saw, the observations and conclusions in this book are highly applicable to VN and to all other communism states.

Guest More than 1 year ago
This book takes a bit to get into, but once you are hooked, you have to keep on going; Remnick doesn't hit you over the head with Stalin's atrocities; he lets the eye-witnesses speak for themselves; a wonderful, eye-opening read; highly recommended; i now have to read his newer book, called resurrection
piefuchs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David Remnick was the Moscow correspondant for the Washington Post when the walls came tumbling down. This memior tells the story of what he experienced there, who he met, and what he saw. Remnick was privledged to be there for a truly fascinating time and is a very good writer. The book, however, is OK but not great. Remnick views the coming of democracy to Moscow with typical American simplicity. Communists wear the black cowboy hat, free marketeers the white one. Given such a mindset he failed to truly penetrate the Russian psyche and hence predict the reality of post communist Russia. Vastly inferior to Imperium.
McCaine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
David Remnick's "Lenin's Tomb" is a book about the journalist's experiences just before and during the collapse of the USSR at the end of the 1980s. Using a chronological overview, Remnick describes what the Soviet Union was like under the reign of Gorbachov (or "Gorbachev" in US spelling) and his views on the various leaders, journalists, KGB officers, bureaucrats, dissidents and so on. Because Remnick goes almost entirely by interviews for his information, the book gives a very thorough biographical view of the times, but there is very little information on the general state of the country, economic and social causes for the collapse, and so on. Remnick's tone and style are very much like those of a tabloid investigative journalist, describing people and events mostly by way of the author's opinions and what the people he interviews look and act like. This has the benefit of giving one the impression of re-living the interactions with the famous of those years, but is far too shallow for any explanatory purpose. Additionally, Remnick has too obvious favorites among the people involved. Gorbachov is generally shown more negatively than often in the West, but that fits the overall negative appraisal given to him in Russia. But people like Yeltsin and Solzhenitsyn are praised endlessly and can practically do no wrong, even though there are serious issues with both. Sakharov in particular is elevated literally to the level of a modern saint by Remnick: he is never mentioned without describing his "saintliness", "superior morality", and so on. Now in many of the cases Remnick's qualifications of his interviewees seem deserved, but it does get annoying after a while. Better to let readers decide whom they like than to pre-ordain all this. Overall, the book is mostly useful as a collection of interviews of important people at the end of the 1980s, and as such it is very balanced in the kind of people interviewed. It fails entirely as anything more though, and should not be used as a serious explanatory book on the hows and whys of the USSR's collapse. And that is somewhat disappointing.
neurodrew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book very quickly, soon after it appeared, in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is reportage from the last days of the Soviets, about strikes, the take over of the Russian government, the attempted putsch by the KGB, and several other incidents that I recall reading about in the newspapers and experiencing as monumental events.
dickcraig on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book on a trip to New Zealand. I love Remnick's writing.
SBristowSD6 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At times it seems like Mr. Remnick interviews EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the Soviet Union and they all seem to impart their own "You know what sucks? Communism." stories. However, once the coup begins, it's a gripping suspenseful read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very revealing and perhaps most revealing account of the last days of the Soviet Union put forth in a concise manner for the reader. It is smooth flowing, vivid in its descriptions and captured the mood at the time in such an authentic way. The reliance on interviews gives a lot of credibility to the narration and the portrayal of the character in the the situations they found themselves in. The society as a whole is bared for he reader to understand and the system's shortcomings are exposed. I read The Union Muzhik the other day and from it, understand the hopes of Perestroika and Glasnost that the demise of the Soviet Union failed to bring to the people.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Okay, first of all Lenin was an enemy of the Soviet Union he attempted to kill Stalin, like what? 39 times? America was helping the Soviet Union kill Lenin, so really, I'm the only one who really knew what was going on. In chapter 9 you see the quote 'No, you see, I am the true Stalinist in this neighborhood, I came up with Socialism and Communism before Karl Marx, he broke into my house and stole my work.' this was said by Lord Acton, so in reality, this book is only about a bunch of stuff that never happened, the Soviet Union was a fictional mystic place of poverty. I'm Joseph Stalin's 3rd great great grandson, and I was named after him, I think I'd know what's up, he was an Anarchist, he was conspiring to destroy the Soviet Union! Jacob Stalin Capitalism baby, that's what it's all about forget Socialism and Communism, it's all about trade and capital!