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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The life of a fighter, 4 Mar. 2012
By 
P. Webster "Phil W." (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Life (Dover Value Editions) (Paperback)
Trotsky's autobiography is a fascinating account of his life from his childhood up to 1930, when he wrote the book, ten years before he was murdered by an agent of Stalin in 1940.

Trotsky made contributions to Marxist thought, for example in his theory of permanent revolution and the theory of combined and uneven development. But he is best known for his political activities: firstly as a key leader, alongside Lenin, of the 1917 Russian Revolution, and then later as the leading opponent of the bureaucratic tyranny of Stalin's regime, which destroyed the fledgling workers' democracy in the 1920s and forced Trotsky into exile.

Trotsky clung to the view that Russia under Stalin was a "degenerated workers' state". I think he was mistaken on this: much more convincing is Tony Cliff's theory that Russia (and, later, the other so-called "communist" regimes) was a state capitalist society. But despite this weakness, Trotsky did keep alive the fundamental Marxist idea that socialism must be based on internationalism and democracy. (The "dictatorship of the proletariat" was meant to mean the DEMOCRATIC control of society by the working class.)

One early episode gives a flavour of the book. At school Trotsky took part in a minor bit of rebellious behaviour in class against an unpleasant teacher. When the school cracked down, Trotsky learned his first political lesson. Some boys bravely stayed loyal to each other, some became tell-tales, and the majority wavered in the middle.

Trotsky writes: "These three groups never quite disappeared even during the years that followed. I met them again and again in my life in the most varied circumstances."

We can obviously see this in 1917. The revolution happened when the "middle" one of these groups (the mass of workers and peasants) was won over to the side of those who had for years been consistently opposing the injustices of capitalism: the Bolsheviks.

I'll end with two more quotations which give an indication of Trotsky's personality and politics. Both are from the Foreword to the book.

"A well-written book in which one can find new ideas, and a good pen with which to communicate one's own ideas to others, for me have always been and are today the most valuable and intimate products of culture."

"To understand the causal sequence of events and to find somewhere in the sequence one's own place - that is the first duty of a revolutionary."

As this book shows, Trotsky certainly found his place in a historic sequence of events.

Phil Webster.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant insight, 25 Oct. 2013
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Holds your attention very well. Extremely interesting. Helps understand historic events. Written in an easy to understand manner. Excellent insight.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars leon trotsky my life, 10 Feb. 2011
This review is from: My Life (Dover Value Editions) (Paperback)
Silly to review long-published autobiography of such a key historical thinker and actor?
Perhaps--not my purpose is just to say
a)if you'ved read ABOUT Trotsky then this is the book BY him
b) price of these copies good value (this is an INDEPENDENT comment).
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My Life (Dover Value Editions)
My Life (Dover Value Editions) by Leon Trotsky (Paperback - 31 Aug. 2007)
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