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The Prophet: Trotsky 1879-1940 (Special Edition shrinkwrapped set) [Special Edition] [Paperback]

Isaac Deutscher

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Book Description

1 July 2009
Magisterial three-volume biography of Leon Trotsky - hero of 1917, nemesis of Stalin, and theorist of 'permanent revolution' - now available as a specially-priced set. Few political figures of the twentieth century have aroused as much controversy as the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. Trotsky's extraordinary life and extensive writings have left an indelible mark on revolutionary conscience. Yet there was a danger that his name would disappear from history. Originally published in 1954, Deutscher's masterful three-volume biography was the first major publication to counter the powerful Stalinist propaganda machine that had sought to expunge Trotsky from the annals of the Soviet Union. In these pages Trotsky emerges in his real stature, as the most heroic, and ultimately tragic, character of the Russian revolution. Volume 1: The Prophet Armed: traces Trotsky's early years, the formation of his distinctive theory of permanent revolution, his long feud and reconciliation with Lenin and Bolshevism, and his role in the October insurrection of 1917. The volume ends in 1921, when Trotsky, then at the climax of his power, unwittingly sowed the seeds of his own defeat. Volume 2: The Prophet Unarmed: recounts the great struggle between Stalin and Trotsky that followed the end of the civil war in 1921 and the death of Lenin. It provides a new assessment of the causes of defeat which led to his expulsion from the party, his exile, and his 1929 banishment from Russia. Volume 3: The Prophet Outcast: is a self-contained narrative of Trotsky's years in exile and of his murder in Mexico in 1940, told against the background of the ideological controversies raging throughout the period.

Product details

  • Paperback: 1432 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; Special edition edition (1 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844673936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844673933
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 15.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 607,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Don't let this put you off but... 'Selecting his Desert Island books, the architect of New Labour chooses somewhat bizarrely Isaac Deutscher's three-volume, largely sympathetic biography of the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky.' --Guardian

Surely this must be counted among the greatest biographies in the English language. --Graham Greene

Trotsky's epic defence of the soul of the Revolution against its bureaucratic executioners was a torchlight in the storm. In one of the very greatest modern biographies, Isaac Deutscher redeems the legacy of this astonishing revolutionary and humanist thinker. --Mike Davis

About the Author

ISAAC DEUTSCHER was born in 1907 near Krakow and joined the Polish Communist Party, from which he was expelled in 1932. He then moved to London where he died in 1967. His other books include Stalin and The Unfinished Revolution.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A complete, comprehensive MASTERPIECE 21 Dec 2011
By AD - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This three volume set (The Prophet Armed, The Prophet Unarmed, The Prophet Outcast) is the absolute ultimate biography on the life and mind of Leon Trotsky. As the description states, Isaac Deutscher authored the first major counter-narrative of Trotsky's role in the Russian Revolution, demolishing Stalinist propaganda. This is perhaps the most important work you can find on the subject.

Trotsky was the intellectual of the revolution. A brilliant writer, journalist, and organizer, Trotsky quickly rose to the top ranks of the Bolshevik movement. Many party leaders, including Joseph Stalin, were envious of his talents, which eventually led to his expulsion from Russia.

Despite the length of this set, you will never get bored. The prose is extremely accessible. It is an excellent work.

It should be noted that Christopher Hitchens recommends this as the greatest work on Trotsky available.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great work 2 April 2012
By Robert A. Clark - Published on Amazon.com
I must admit to having had a certain amount of trepidation when I decided to tackle Deutscher's biography of Trotsky.After all,it's not a slim undertaking but I was surprised to find it not difficult to read at all . On the contrary,it was a very pleasurable experience and not just for the topic itself,but also for the fact that Deutscher is such a fine prose stylist.I've gone on to read other works on Trotsky since but they all pale into insignificance when compared to Deutscher's masterpiece.None of them come near to his erudition or his intimate exploration of this fascinating period of history.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magisterial 24 July 2013
By Adam B. Ritchie Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I reviewed the first volume of this trilogy unfavorably but nevertheless give the trilogy itself a five-star rating. The author's writing verve and brilliance mysteriously returned with volumes 2 and 3. I saved by buying the trilogy, whose amazon price was under $50. The three volumes were packaged together and were nonreturnable if you broke the label. Perhaps other readers were also disappointed in volume 1 and did not read further. I persisted having previously read his brilliant "Stalin."

Deutscher seems motivated in large part to rescue Trotsky's name from "heavy calumny and oblivion," and his effort is a valiant one compared to the praise of more prosaic admirers such as Robert Vincent Daniels in "The Conscience of the Revolution." But oblivion follows calumny as death follows sickness. Open seating on a cruise from Mumbai to Luxor put me a table with a wealthy Jewish woman from Mexico City for whom Trotsky's name was unknown. I should have established a baseline. Do you know Aaron Copland? More telling is Fitzroy Maclean's travels from Moscow to Central Asia in 1937. (Maclean's book "Eastern Approaches" came to my attention from Robert Conquest's "The Great Terror.") Maclean was an eyewitness in the 1938 show trial of Buharin, Rykov, and others. Trotsky's name did not appear in Maclean's book until his account of the trial in his chapter, "Winter in Moscow," although in the summer and fall of 1937 Maclean had visited Alma Ata near the Chinese frontier where Trotsky was exiled for one year in 1928. But Maclean's ignorance of Trotsky is not proof of Trotsky's oblivion in the Soviet Union. On his way to Alma Ata and Samarkand Maclean stops for the night in Sverdlovsk, which he tells us is the renamed Ekaterinburg where the Tsar and his family were murdered in 1918. He appears not to know that the the city has been renamed in honor of the Old Bolshevik Yakov Sverdlov, who died of natural causes in 1919. Maclean knows White but not Red Russian history.
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