Revolutionary practitioner, theorist, factional chief, sparkling writer, 'ladies' man' (e.g., his affair with Frieda Kahlo), icon of the Revolution, anti-Jewish Jew, philosopher of everyday life, grand seigneur of his household, father and hunted victim, Trotsky lived a brilliant life in extraordinary times. Robert Service draws on hitherto ...
Revolutionary practitioner, theorist, factional chief, sparkling writer, 'ladies' man' (e.g., his affair with Frieda Kahlo), icon of the Revolution, anti-Jewish Jew, philosopher of everyday life, grand seigneur of his household, father and hunted victim, Trotsky lived a brilliant life in extraordinary times. Robert Service draws on hitherto unexamined archives and on his profound understanding of Russian history to draw a portrait of the man and his legacy, revealing that though his followers have represented Trotsky as a pure revolutionary soul and a powerful intellect unjustly hounded into exile by Stalin and his henchmen. The reality is very different, as this masterful and compelling biography reveals.
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Publishers Weekly, 2009-09-28 Having covered Lenin and Stalin, Oxford history professor Service completes his biographical trilogy with the life of Leon Trotsky. Thick and intensely researched but a pleasure to read, it should remain the definitive work for some time. Trotsky (1879-1940) "flashed like a comet across the political sky," sharing credit with Lenin for winning the 1917 revolution but losing the battle to succeed him after his 1923 death. While this outline is well known, Service mines new and old sources to fill in the details. A brilliant writer and speaker but too arrogant to attract a following, Trotsky had no chance against the methodical Stalin, whom he repeatedly insulted. Stalin forced him into exile in 1929 and had him murdered in 1940. Before and during exile, Trotsky poured out histories, memoirs and journalism, heavily influencing our picture of the revolution and its major figures. Service emphasizes that he was no objective observer. Stalin was not as stupid as portrayed, and Trotsky had no objection to mass murder when it served his purposes. This is a thoughtful, rewarding and essential contribution to 20th-century history. 50 b&w photos. (Nov.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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