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Trotsky: A Biography Paperback – Unabridged, 16 Apr 2010
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`The author at last follows up his biographies of Lenin and Stalin with this well-researched working examining Trotsky's complex ideas and the reasons behind his exile and murder.'
--`The Hit List', The Independent on Sunday
`Seldom has the pathology of the revolutionary type and its murderous consequences, been more mercilessly exposed than in this exemplary biography.' --Robert Harris, Sunday Times Culture
`There is much to attract the general reader of biography and fascinating findings from the archives for the specialist. Service's biography is a Trotsky for our times...'
--Ronald Grigor-Suny, History Today
'bold and balanced biography.' --Guardian
'It's a complicated story and Robert Service is just the man to disentangle it. With biographies of Stalin and Lenin already under his belt, he has delved into unexplored archives and does Trotsky proud.'
--Seven, Sunday Telegraph
'Service is never unkind to his subject, but nor is he an acolyte. One of the great functions his book performs, aside from being a compelling read, is to flesh out a non-Trotskyite version of Trotsky... There is not moralism in Robert Service's narrative - and there is no need. It is plain from the facts that Trotsky was a quite brilliant historical phenomenon; and not a very nice man.' --Paperback of the Week, Observer
'a fascinating new slant on one of the leading figures behind the Russian revolution.'
'Service's biography answers so many questions...The book contains details hidden for years, so jump in and relive the revolution.' --Nick Ellis, Bournemouth Echo
'The author uses his profound knowledge of Russia and of Bolshevism to give us the best and most nuanced biography of a man without whom the Revolution might well not have succeeded. This is not the Trotsky many in the dwindling left-wing intelligentsia have known. The Trotsky we see here was `arrogant and imperious', fully the equal of Lenin or Stalin in barbarity. At last, students of Soviet Russia have a biography they can trust.'
A riveting new biography of Leon Trotsky from the critically acclaimed author of Lenin and StalinSee all Product description
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Professor Service acknowledges Trotsky's undoubted rhetorical brilliance and the literary flourish of his written work, but does not allow himself to be blinded by it as a quality that should in itself let him off the historical hook. This is particularly important given the sometimes hagiographic feel of other Trotsky biographies like that of Isaac Deutscher and the often lamentable analyses by some of his political admirers, of Trotsky as the civilised face of socialism and a tragic hero who but for that nasty and uncouth Stalin would have led a more humane Soviet regime. Service's account convincingly rebuts the plausibility of such arguments, showing Trotsky as someone not averse to using terror and indeed as a central player in creating the Soviet institutions that allowed and encouraged it.
Professor Service also lays out clearly Trotsky's gifts for self-discipline, organisation and leadership that enabled him and his comrades to come to the fore as historical figures - in 1917 and during the Russian Civil War - and maintain the Bolsheviks in power when the regime could so easily have collapsed. A potentially interesting comparison in that regard might have been what qualities and circumstances allowed Trotsky to succeed where Bela Kuns and Rosa Luxemburgs failed.
Overall a very informative read
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