... entertaining ... a welcome corrective ... The story is vividly told by Carr, who has unearthed some fascinating new archival sources to add to a sparkling narrative ... Carr writes a rollicking spy yarn, but there is no convincing evidence that the one serious attempt on Lenin’s life leads back to Allied intervention. Western spooks talked about murdering Lenin, but it is not clear they did much about it.
The story of American intervention in the Russian Civil War is well known and has been told many times before. Journalist and author Barnes Carr would have us believe, however, that there is much we still don’t know about this history, which he purports to reveal in The Lenin Plot: The Untold Story of America’s Midnight War Against Russia . The administration of President Woodrow Wilson, he writes, launched a secret operation together with Britain and France to topple the fledgling Soviet state and then assassinate Lenin and other top officials. The story Carr recounts is dramatic, but it’s not new ... This pattern recurs throughout the book: tantalizing hints of grand and nefarious American plots are dropped along the way to keep the reader in suspense, only later to be dispelled as mirages. In short, there’s a good deal of heat in Carr’s book, but precious little light ... What’s more, The Lenin Plot is littered with errors, inaccuracies, and misstatements.
... lively, if somewhat speculative ... Piecing together the increasingly convoluted and elaborate scheme through newspaper accounts, archival records, letters, and biographies, Carr contends that it failed because of a lack of funds and disagreements among Cossack leaders, though he admits some pieces of the puzzle are still missing, including whether the plotters were behind Fanny Kaplan’s attempted assassination of Lenin in summer of 1918. Fluidly written and impressively researched, this espionage tale delights.