Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky

A Revolutionary's Life

Book - 2011
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Born Lev Davidovich Bronstein in southern Ukraine, Trotsky was both a world-class intellectual and a man capable of the most narrow-minded ideological dogmatism. He was an effective military strategist and an adept diplomat, who staked the fate of the Bolshevik revolution on the meager foundation of a Europe-wide Communist upheaval. He was a master politician who played his cards badly in the momentous struggle for power against Stalin in the 1920s.nbsp;And he was an assimilated, indifferent Jew who was among the first to foresee that Hitler's triumph would mean disaster for his fellow European Jews, and that Stalin would attempt to forge an alliance with Hitler if Soviet overtures to the Western democracies failed.

Here, Trotsky emerges as a brilliant and brilliantly flawed man. Rubenstein offers us a Trotsky who is mentally acute and impatient with others, one of the finest students of contemporary politics who refused to engage in the nitty-gritty of party organization in the 1920s, when Stalin was maneuvering, inexorably, toward Trotsky's own political oblivion.

As Joshua Rubenstein writes in his preface, "Leon Trotsky haunts our historical memory. A preeminent revolutionary figure and a masterful writer, Trotsky led an upheaval that helped to define the contours of twentieth-century politics." In this lucid and judicious evocation of Trotsky's life, Joshua Rubenstein gives us an interpretation for the twenty-first century.
Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, c2011
ISBN: 9780300137248
0300137249
Branch Call Number: 947.084 T756ru
Characteristics: x, 225 p. ; 22 cm

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MelatSCPL
Mar 08, 2017

Oh, poor Trotsky! He intended to rid Russia of its 400 year old despotic dynasty and create a utopia, freeing peasants, workers, minorities and soldiers and sailors—cannon fodder in the Czar’s expansionist wars. All nought!
What resulted was less freedom, more repression and death. The cost of Trotsky’s folly, in terms of loss of human life, was immense. He both ordered the death of thousands and was complicit in the murders of myriads more while serving under Lenin and Stalin. Personally, his fanaticism cost the lives of his four children; his first wife; a brother and a sister; a niece and three nephews; and three sons-in-law—all murdered. Many other relatives, some who barely knew him, were imprisoned or exiled or simply disappeared [page 185].
As for Trotsky being a hero, even contemporary Marxist’s saw that the man’s compassion for the disenfranchised was a thin veneer covering a brutish streak. The author quotes the German communist agitator, Emma Goldman, a onetime admirer: “... one might detest the savage in the Kremlin [Stalin] and his cruel regime and yet not exonerate Leon Trotsky from the crime against sailors of Kronstadt.” Rubenstein concludes that Goldman, “... refused to see any significant difference between Stalin and Trotsky [page 186].
Joshua Rubenstein’s biography of Trotsky is well researched, well written, balanced and very readable. Besides shedding light on the revolutionary, the author gives his reader a glimpse into the overthrow of Nicolas II and the rise Russian style communism.

a
athena14
Aug 30, 2014

The Obedient Assassin
A Novel Based on A True Story
By Davidson, John P.

After reading Davidson's fascinating novel, I confirmed his story with this fine bio.

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