Trotsky

Trotsky

A Biography

Book - 2009/11/15
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Harvard University Press

Robert Service completes his masterful trilogy on the founding figures of the Soviet Union in an eagerly anticipated, authoritative biography of Leon Trotsky.

Trotsky is perhaps the most intriguing and, given his prominence, the most understudied of the Soviet revolutionaries. Using new archival sources including family letters, party and military correspondence, confidential speeches, and medical records, Service offers new insights into Trotsky. He discusses Trotsky’s fractious relations with the leaders he was trying to bring into a unified party before 1914; his attempt to disguise his political closeness to Stalin; and his role in the early 1920s as the progenitor of political and cultural Stalinism. Trotsky evinced a surprisingly glacial and schematic approach to making revolution. Service recounts Trotsky’s role in the botched German revolution of 1923; his willingness to subject Europe to a Red Army invasion in the 1920s; and his assumption that peasants could easily be pushed onto collective farms. Service also sheds light on Trotsky’s character and personality: his difficulties with his Jewish background, the development of his oratorical skills and his preference for writing over politicking, his inept handling of political factions and coldness toward associates, and his aversion to assuming personal power.

Although Trotsky’s followers clung to the stubborn view of him as a pure revolutionary and a powerful intellect unjustly hounded into exile by Stalin, the reality is very different. This illuminating portrait of the man and his legacy sets the record straight.


Robert Service completes his masterful trilogy on the founding figures of the Soviet Union in an eagerly anticipated, authoritative biography of Leon Trotsky. Although Trotsky’s followers clung to the stubborn view of him as a pure revolutionary and a powerful intellect unjustly hounded into exile by Stalin, the reality is very different. This illuminating portrait of the man and his legacy sets the record straight.

Baker & Taylor
Offers new insights to Trotsky's life, including his relations with world leaders, his attempt to disguise his political closeness to Stalin, and his role as the progenitor of political and cultural Stalinism.

Book News
Having previously written biographies of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, Service (Russian history, Oxford U., UK) completes the trilogy with this biography of Leon Trotsky. The biography focuses, naturally enough, on Trotsky's career as a revolutionary, and only briefly recounts his youth. It is based, in significant part, on new materials, including records of the Politburo and Central Committee for the 1920s, the internal records of the nascent Fourth International, and the first draft of Trotsky's autobiography. While no central thesis is immediately evident, Service is clearly interested in undermining much of the heroic images of Trotsky presented by biographers such as Isaac Deutscher, even as he recognizes Trotsky's obvious brilliance. Belknap Press is an imprint of Harvard U. Press. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Baker
& Taylor

Trotsky is perhaps the most intriguing and, given his prominence, the most understudied of the Soviet revolutionaries. Using new archival sources, Robert Service offers new insights. He discusses Trotsky's fractious relations with the leaders he was trying to unify; his attempt to disguise his political closeness to Stalin; and his role in the early 1920s as the progenitor of political and cultural Stalinism. Trotsky evinced a surprisingly glacial and schematic approach to making revolution. Service recounts Trotsky's role in the botched German revolution of 1923; his willingness to subject Europe to a Red Army invasion in the 1920s; and his assumption that peasants could easily be pushed onto collective farms. Although Trotsky's followers clung to the stubborn view of him as a pure revolutionary and a powerful intellect unjustly hounded into exile by Stalin, the reality is very different.--From publisher description.

Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009/11/15
ISBN: 9780674036154
0674036158
Branch Call Number: B TROTSKY
Characteristics: xxii, 600 p., [24] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), maps ; 25 cm

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m
manofwest
May 31, 2014

The notes on the author are wrong - it is for another Robert Service, the Canadian writer - the author of TROTSKY is an English historian born in 1947.

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