Vlad all over

February 10, 1995

A serious contender for the happiest academic around this week is Robert Service - not the Canadian poet, although displaying similar expertise on frozen wastes as professor of Russian politics and history at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. The publication last week of the third and final volume of his biography of Lenin ends a research and writing process stretching back to when Jim Callaghan was Prime Minister, Brezhnev was running the Soviet Union and a pint cost 30p.

"I feel as though I've got out of gaol," he says. But there was one minor disappointment at the launch in the SSEES senior common room - when it was announced that although 16 years is a formidable marathon performance, it falls well behind the 39 years taken by a number of authors to complete the life of Joseph Chamberlain.

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