As a student of Russian history and socialist theories and movements, this book has been helpful in allowing me to gain understanding of the life and work of Leon Trotsky. It is a well-balanced, critical account. Unlike other books on Trotsky that gloss over realities in order to paint a sympathetic, but inaccurate picture of him as a thinker, leader and a man, Thatcher's biography deals with controversy and truth head-on, providing the reader with an honest appraisal of Trotsky's strengths as well as his weaknesses. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is either just beginning to study Russian history and socialism or to experts who feel they have nothing left to learn on the subject. I feel Thatcher's book will inform and interest many types of readers and thinkers.