Isaac Deutscher, "Lenin's Childhood" (Verso, 2024)


On January 21, 1924 and at the age of 53, Vladimir Lenin passed away. We’ve now had a century of a world without him, but also a century of a world undeniably changed by his imprint. In commemoration of his life, Verso has recently put out a collection of classic works both by and about this pivotal figure. One of these books, a short biographical sketch called Lenin’s Childhood, is the topic of today’s conversation, although it’s really only a jumping off point for my guest and I to talk about the book’s author, the Marxist historian and biographer Isaac Deutscher. Best known for his biographies of Stalin and his trilogy on Trotsky, Lenin’s Childhood is the only completed piece of an attempted two-volume study that would’ve completed his biographical work, and set the stage for a greater study of Russian history in general. While his untimely death in 1967 cut his work short, he still left a rich body of writing worth wrestling with. Throughout our conversation, we discuss Deutscher’s life, work and legacy, and encourage listeners to revisit his work as still relevant for contemporary readers.

Our guest today, Gonzalo Pozo, wrote the introduction to the new edition of Lenin’s Childhood, and is currently working on a biography of Isaac Deutscher.

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