An enormously readable biography of Lenin which builds towards a towering climax; popular in tone but large in intent, this gives a spirited picture of the world's great revolutionary and mover of men. While Payne's portrait eventually negates Lenin's accomplishment, this seems less important than the fact that Lenin, the firebrand, emerges boldly. His credo was simple-- ""You must give the earth to the peasants, peace to the soldiers, power to the working class; and everything which does, not directly aim to bring about these three things is non-Marxist and therefore false"". The first task: unmerciful destruction; the means: terror and murder. A possessed existentialist, nihilistically inhuman, he was always the intellectual superior of every man he met, although he remained a peasant among the arts. Yet, at the end, he could recant and render up his mea culpa: ""I am, it seems, strongly guilty before the workers of Russia"". The author's chief sources are Lenin's massive works and reminiscences. But the living Lenin, raging, exhausted, spiteful, gifted with immeasurable cunning, and the victim of his own victory, is very much here on the page.