Trotsky

Trotsky

Trotsky

Trotsky

Synopsis

This new biography provides a full account of Leon Trotsky's political life, based upon a wealth of primary sources, including previously unpublished material.Ian D. Thatcher paints a new picture of Trotsky's standing in Russian and world history. Key myths about Trotsky's heroic work as a revolutionary, especially in Russia's first revolution of 1905 and the Russian Civil War, are thrown into question. Although Trotsky had a limited understanding of crucial contemporary events such as Hitler's rise to power, he was an important thinker and politician, not least as a trenchant critic of Stalin's version of communism.

Excerpt

The political life of L.D. Trotsky (1879-1940) is a biographer's delight. It includes a rise from village obscurity to seizing power in the capital of Russia; a fall in the struggle to be Lenin's successor; and a lengthy period of exile in which current and past events were analysed in numerous publications. The last period was to be cut short by a vicious assassination, in which an ice-pick was twice inserted into the victim's skull. If this was not enough, it is a life filled with irony, heroism and tragedy, in which personal fortunes and misfortunes intersect with great historical moments, including World War One, the collapse of Tsarism, Hitler's rise to power, the Purges in the USSR and the failure of the Spanish Republic. Of all the leaders of the Russian Revolution, Trotsky's life is undoubtedly the most fascinating. No other Bolshevik shares his history of opposition, support for and then opposition to Bolshevism. No other Bolshevik attempted to found a new, Fourth International. No other Bolshevik wrote about his life as Trotsky did, even arranging the sale of his personal papers to Harvard University. Little wonder, then, that Trotsky has been represented in movies (by, amongst others, Richard Burton), has appeared in literature (in, for example, Anthony Burgess' End of the World News) and has even featured in popular song (most famously in 'No More Heroes' by The Stranglers).

Trotsky's actions, as commentator and participant, have also aroused great controversy. He is admired and vilified in equal measure. All too often, however, have the political passions of the biographer determined

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