Dr. Oskar Vogt, a Prussian hypnotist and neurologist, will stop at little in his pursuit of worldly success, and in his quest for the biological secret of genius. He is fortunate to be able to cultivate the patronage of the hugely wealthy Krupp family, including Friedrich Alfred Krupp, director of Germany's largest arms company, until scandals and suicide force Vogt to search for other sources of support.
His career takes an upturn with the advent of World War I, which provides him with a large supply of brains to work on - but no geniuses. Vogt's great chance comes when the Russian authorities invite him to dissect the brain of their dead leader - an opportunity at last to identify genius in its raw state! But how will he cope with the grave responsibility, and what pitfalls will await him as hostilities mount between Germany and Russia?
The colourful cast of Lenin's Brain includes the delicious and witty Amanda von Alvensleben, whose wicked gossip peppers the plot; the would-be bohemian painter Max Landsberg; and a whole array of philistine industrialists, mad racial theorists, Russian conspirators, and bumbling storm troopers - not to mention the actresses, circus riders, and scientists with whom Dr. Vogt enjoys furtive affairs.
A bestseller in Germany and acclaimed throughout Europe, Lenin's Brain offers a scathing portrait of German society from the turn of the century until the early years of the Third Reich. Most of the novel's characters are real people, but Tilman Spengler has reimagined their lives with a wit and irony that take the reader far beyond the historical facts.