The Lockhart Plot: Love, Betrayal, Assassination and Counter-Revolution in Lenin’s Russia

Written by Jonathan Schneer
Review by K. M. Sandrick

Bruce Lockhart, a British diplomat and secret agent, is at the center of a conspiracy involving American, British, and French operatives to murder Bolshevik leaders Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, overturn the new Communist regime in Russia, and install leadership that would fight Germany along the Eastern Front of WWI in 1918. Their story unfolds in author Schneer’s nonfiction chronicle The Lockhart Plot.

The nature of the operation was, of course, clandestine and therefore, as Schneer explains, information about it was limited, disguised, oblique, vague, and later sanitized. He nonetheless is able to weave a compelling narrative about the key figure Lockhart, Russian collaborators, the development and details of the plot and its eventual unraveling, sprinkling in romance and dalliance along the way.

Schneer is an American historian who specializes in British history. He is an emeritus professor at Georgia Institute of Technology. Previous books have won awards. The Balfour Declaration received the 2010 National Jewish Book Award. BBC History Magazine named The Balfour Declaration and Ministers of War as books of the month.

The Lockhart Plot is suspenseful and moody. It takes readers back in time and place to meet and follow in the steps of the plotters, provides insight on Bolshevism and its believers and critics, and deftly presents conflicting views and perspectives. On top of that, it reads like a top-level spy novel. Outstanding.