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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting approach, 14 Feb 2011
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Mrs. TK Ellis "Bookworm" (High Wycombe, Bucks) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky (Paperback)
I have just finished reading this entertaining book and found it to be interesting and engaging for the most part. The book looks at Trotsky's time in Mexico and reveals what he was doing to push forward Marxism and Communism as well as his reaction to Stalin and the Moscow Show Trials, and what he did to counter his convictions in absentia. The book also looks at the relationships Trotsky had with his supporters, both in Mexico and the US as well as the working relationship he had with his secretaries and with his security detail. The book also looks at the relationship he had with his ever patient wife, Natalia, and the effect on their marriage when he began an affair with the artist Frida Kahlo. For me however, the most enlightening part of this book was his inability to connect to people. Trotsky was highly intelligent, well educated, well read and well written and was arguably one of the sharpest political operators from the Russian Revolution but was a complete dunce when it came to dealing with people. His inability to negotiate, conciliate and calm tensions caused him far more problems than he ever needed.

The book is engaging and informative and I certainly feel that I have learned a lot about the man, even though this book does not hold itself out to be a biography. However, a couple of small criticisms; the book does tend to dash about in Trostky's timeline, so I would caution potential readers that a general knowledge of the pre and post revolutionary Russia would be very useful. The author also has a tendency to get caught up with particular arguements, for example his overlong passages on Marxian Dialectical materialism. It was quite right to include this in the book as it was a very important topic to Trotsky, but it did appear to me at least that he made much more of it than was necessary for the good of the book.

Overall, I thought that this was a very good read. The writer maintains, for the most part, a decent narrative and appears to be very well informed and generally unbiased. However, this book is not a biography of Trotsky but it will give you an insight into the man. I would recommend this book, but with the caveats I have mentioned in this review.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder Most Foul, 17 April 2014
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This review is from: Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky (Paperback)
This is a finely crafted account of the assassination in Mexico of Leon Trotsky by a hired killer in the pay of Stalin's secret police. The complicated events leading up to the murder are meticulously describe in a style that is both authoritative and readable. Fine historical scholarship aligned with a a real sense of the drama itself.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sow the Whirlwind..., 8 Feb 2012
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T. Wasser (Pittsburgh, PA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky (Paperback)
Knowing Trotsky's violent end makes reading Patenaude's book a bit like reading a Greek tragedy. By the end of this account of his last years, spent as a virtual prisoner as a result of Stalin's determination to have him killed, we see just how tragic a figure he was. It was his own success in the October Revolution that unleashed the forces that inevitably led to the concentration of Soviet power in the hands of a paranoid megalomaniac. Without a Trotsky, there would not have been a Stalin. The irony being that as much as Trotsky insisted that the theory of dialectical materialism was an actuality, and that the dictatorship of the proletariat was inevitable, he could not see the inevitability of the dictatorship of Stalin, even when it was staring him in the face. His own death was more than the result of a personal feud between two former comrades; it became an emblem for the millions of Soviet citizens that Stalin would kill in the name of saving the revolution.
For further reading regarding the Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin revolution, I suggest also reading David Remnick's account of the fall of the Soviet Union, Lenin's Tomb.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The last days of trotsky, 27 May 2014
This review is from: Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky (Paperback)
This is a stylishly written page turner, with flashes of wit. It reminds me of the classic Trevor- Roper, The last days of hitler. A study of the entourage of a cornered man. There is an irony, that the man who re-organised the Tsarist army, was incapable of organising the defense of his own villa. There is much interesting detail on his personality, his lack of personal skills, and skirt chasing. The account of the assassination, could have come out of an Alan furst novel. A bit too much detail on ideological differences in the American left, and schools of art and literature, now consigned to the "dustbins of history".
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Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky
Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky by Bertrand Patenaude (Paperback - 4 Mar 2010)
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