Democracy is indispensable to socialism… The goal of socialism is communism… Vladimir Lenin


Lenin’s mistress : the life of Inessa Armand Michael Pearson New York : Random House, c 2001 Hardcover. 1st ed., later printing. xvi, 278 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [257]-259) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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The definitive biography of Inessa Armand: revolutionary, tactician, and confidante and mistress of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. Although she is little known today, after the October Revolution in 1917, Armand became the most powerful woman in Moscow.

The illegitimate daughter of a Parisian opera singer, Armand was fortunate to marry into a wealthy Moscow family, yet she left home after ten years and four children to live openly with her husband’s much younger brother, through whom she became deeply embroiled in Russia’s growing anti-tsarist underworld.

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By the time she met Lenin in Paris, Armand had been imprisoned four times and had escaped Arctic exile, making her a fugitive in her homeland. Lenin soon recognized her talents, and Armand became his lieutenant, organizer, and lover. Through seven years of exile, she helped Lenin hone the Bolshevik Party, despite bitter internal strife, into the disciplined unit that would gain him immense power.

Following the February Revolution in 1917, Armand supported Lenin in his greatest gamble: She accompanied him from their latest exile in Switzerland through Germany — still at war with Russia — to St. Petersburg via the legendary “sealed train.” It was a journey that would shape the twentieth century.

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Armand was soon appointed chief of the Woman’s Section of the Central Committee, with unique access to Lenin and the power to make legislative decisions. Her relationship with Lenin was profound yet volatile. The demands of revolution were great on both of them, but an attempt on Lenin’s life in 1918 brought a renewed closeness. In 1920, Armand died of cholera after taking a holiday in the Caucasus at Lenin’s insistence, and at her state funeral, an extremely rare honor for a woman, Lenin’s visible distress shocked his comrades.

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