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Lenin's Private War

The Voyage of the Philosophy Steamer and the Exile of the Intelligentsia

Lesley Chamberlain

St. Martin's Press

In 1922, Lenin personally drew up a list of some 160 'undesirable' intellectuals - mostly philosophers, academics, scientists and journalists - to be deported from the new Soviet State. 'We're going to cleanse Russia once and for all' he wrote to Stalin, whose job it was to oversee the deportation. Two ships sailed from Petrograd that autumn, taking Old Russia's eminent men and their families away to what would become permanent exile in Berlin, Prague and Paris. Lesley Chamberlain creates a rich portrait of this chilling historical moment, evoked with immediacy through the journals, letters, and memoirs of the exiles.

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Lenin's Private War
PART I' ... the Leninist bacchanalia ...'Victor Frank, 'Lenin and the Russian Intelligentsia' 
'Never, of course, have I thought of "chasing away the intelligentsia" ...'Lenin to Gorky, 13 February 19081The Night Before 
 
WHO WERE THE men on the Philosophy Steamer? Lenin thought of them as the class enemy, but how did they think of themselves, and what was their world like before it was so violently disrupted? The contrast between the machinery of the totalitarian regime and the lives of real people it affected leaps out of the reminiscences of writers
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REVIEWS

Praise for Lenin's Private War

"Recounted in fascinating detail...Chamberlain brings these forgotten figures back to life with great skill and sympathy."--William Grimes, The New York Times
"Lenin's Private War is infused with a deep understanding of the rich history of Russian thought."--The Seattle Times
"Movingly describes the experience of exile in ways that echo that great exile novelist Nabokov himself...Chamberlain has a rare gift."
--Sunday Telegraph
 "Compelling, laudably unsentimental and deeply significant to the history of ideas."
--The Guardian
"Both learned and absorbing…Chamberlain has written a fine monument to a generation of thinkers who addressed questions of contemporary relevance and deserve to be better known."
--The Economist

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Lesley Chamberlain

  • LESLEY CHAMBERLAIN is a writer and reviewer distinguished for her wide-ranging work from travel (in the Communist Mirror) to philosophy (Nietzsche in Turin). Her most recent book is Motherland: A Philosophical History of Russia. She lives in London, England.
  • Lesley Chamberlain
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    Lenin's Private War

    The Voyage of the Philosophy Steamer and the Exile of the Intelligentsia

    Lesley Chamberlain

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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    St. Martin's Press

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