“I found Paul Gabel’s book
And God Created Lenin very interesting. Through exploring the history of religion and church in Soviet Russia immediately upon the Bolshevik victory in October 1917, one is helped to understand the nature of religion and human beings in a very special way. It was the very beginning of the completely atheistic policy of the Soviet State and the Communist Party, which continued for seventy years. The period between 1917 and 1929, which is covered in this book, is extremely interesting, important and controversial.... As an international speaker on Russia and Russian history, I have had thousands of questions from Western people about the state of religion and the church during Soviet times and about the current religious renaissance in Russia. I believe that Paul Gabel’s book will be very helpful for these people, and I will recommend it to my audiences.”
Professor Ludmilla Selezneva
"Paul Gabel’s study of the relationship of the early Bolshevik state and religion is based on wide reading, and his language is easily accessible. What makes the study especially worthwhile is the author’s serious and personal engagement with the issues of religion and Bolshevism.”
Lecturer at the Russian State University for Humanities
School of History, Political Science, and Law
Head of the Department for the Culture of Peace and Democracy
Peter Kenez, Neufeld-Levin Professor of History
University of California at Santa Cruz
When the Bolsheviks took power in Russia in November 1917, they used a wide range of techniques—some subtle, some violent—to eradicate religion in areas under their control. The new Soviet government arrested priests, closed church buildings, exposed fraudulent monastic relics, forbade the printing of religious literature, and denied religious education to the young—all the while proclaiming abroad that there was no religious persecution in Russia. They set out to crush not only all organized religion but even the likelihood of religious thought.
And God Created Lenin
examines in depth the conflict between Lenin’s logic-driven efforts to stamp out religion and the churches’ passionate attempts to save themselves from obliteration. It looks at both sides objectively and admits that they both presented strong cases. In this thoroughly researched yet accessible study, historian Paul Gabel offers a new understanding of the only effort in world history to upset the universality of religion.
Besides the main conflict between the Russian Orthodox Church and the atheist state, Gabel also considers the tensions that this campaign against religion caused within the Communist Party. In addition, he discusses the bitter hatred dividing the Orthodox factions that refused cooperation with the government from those that tried to adapt the church to communism.
Was the failure of Soviet communism to eradicate religion simply a matter of practical miscalculation, or was this effort, in light of the persistence of religion throughout history, ultimately unrealistic and doomed from the start? This is the key question that Gabel’s fascinating, insightful narrative attempts to answer.
Book Binding: Hardcover
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Paul Gabel, trained as a historian at the University of California at Berkeley, is a retired educator and the creator of the educational software The Vietnam War.