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History of the Russian Revolution [Paperback]

Leon Trotsky
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
Price: 22.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 Aug 2008
Trotsky's opposition to Stalin and his policies was one of the most important of all opposing factions in the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution of October 1917. This book is by a figure who was central to the cataclysmic events of October 1917, written from within the movement.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: Haymarket Books (7 Aug 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931859450
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931859455
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.2 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Masterpiece 20 Jan 2010
Isaac Deutscher, the renowned biographer of Trotsky, said of this work; "I certainly agree that this is perhaps the most remarkable European book of the twentieth century." To which I would additionally ask - where exists a more educative history book of the new century either? Trotsky displays his brilliant understanding of world history herein, for you are obliged to delve deeper into earlier history books to fully grasp the characters he cites in their analogical use throughout the three-volumed set. This is not just about Russia - oh no. You will meet Cromwell from the seventeenth century, Robespierre from the eighteenth, and a whole succession of notable movers and shapers interspersed to the very end. They are never used simply as literary embellishments either. This is the very thing that produces his-story of our story of mankind's procession. He provides an anatomical dissection of Russia's revolutionary body and soul and you are left concluding - how did he manage to satisfactorily condense all that detail amidst the sweeping waves of consecutive clarity and confusion? Aspiring writers will never find a better benchmark of literary construction in historical logic than that displayed here by Trotsky. Class-wise I loved the Bolsheviks success too - but our story (history) didn't stop there .... we go on.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate history of the Russian Revolution 5 May 2009
It is interesting that Orlando Figes' 'A Peoples Tragedy' has twenty two reviews on Amazon UK and yet Leon Trotsky's 'History of the Russian Revolution' only has two. Clearly people prefer the therapeutic message of Figes' that all popular movements end badly; better to accept your station in life and let your betters get on with the job! This work is however *the* masterpiece: an unrivaled and meticulous piece of historical documentation of the Russian Revolution that unpacks the power of that monumental event.

Trotsky's history intends from the start to tell the revolution as the first instance of the masses collectively determining their destiny; and this he accomplishes admirably. Whereas the trend nowadays is for telling the history of the revolution through biographies of key Bokshevik protagonists, Trotsky instead goes into meticulous detail on all the political groups and actors: soviets, Mensheviks, Kadets, the military etc. and webs an elaborate tapestry of the events, which makes a compelling case for the necessity and mass support for the Bolshevik October revolution when faced by clear counter-revolutionary movement.

This is an absolutely necessary read for anyone who wants to understand the birth of the 20th century's global, revolutionary movement and a classic repost to turncoat ex-Marxists and ex-Trotskyists who would prefer the masses never rise up and overturn monarchies and capitalism.

We live in deeply conservative societies nowadays; we need texts like Trotsky's to show the reason and power of communist thought in the 21st century.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Leon Trotsky was a leading Russian revolutionary - this account of the events leading up to the October 1917 Revolution is important because it defends the revolution against those who would argue that it was nothing more than a Bolshevik coup, as well as providing a wealth of information on the day to day events. Trotsky's centralitity to the events, his knowledge of leading figures and his contact with the ordinary people who made the revolution make this a powerful Marxist account of one of the most important historical events of the last century. Magnificant.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trotsky on the Russian Revolution 27 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's not common for a history book to be written by someone who had a central role in the events but Trotsky's History is remarkable not just for that but also because it is so clear and analytical. He doesn't skirt around the issues, or offer vague generalisations, but digs into the detail and pulls out real gems.

He analyses the role of the land-owners, the nobility, the workers in the factories, the peasant base of the army, the Social Revolutionaries, Kadets, Narodniks, Mensheviks, Bolsheviks, and all the other actors, from their class interests and shows how despite their pronouncements, those class interests predominated.

It's a massive work, three volumes combined into one, but reads easily. Trotsky is often vilified in the press and even amongst so-called socialists, because he threatens their confortable reformist illusions. But in this book, is spelled out clearly and precisely exactly where such reformist politics goes. Every supporter of New Labour, or even Old Labour should read this book and think very deeply about whose interests their party really represents.

Whilst reading it, I was struck by the image of the hapless Labour candidate standing on my doorstep explaining to me that they weren't allowed to call themselves socialist any more, even if they were. Oh I wish they had read this book and managed to find just that tiniest streak of political confidence.

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Materialist history as it should be 22 July 2010
Very few history books come anywhere close to this - written by one of the key participants in the events described, and drawing on a vast wealth of knowledge and understanding, it's a brilliant analysis of the most important revolution of the twentieth century.
If you like your history this way, your next port of call should be "The Black Jacobins" by CLR James.
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