Leon Trotsky: A Revolutionary’s Life

Joshua Rubenstein. Yale Univ., $25 (240p) ISBN 978-0-300-13724-8
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As much a myth and a legend as a man, Leon Trotsky is an individual of deep contradictions. One of the leaders of the Russian Revolution, Trotsky was a theorist and architect of the Communist system. Though he helped create the authoritarian structure of the Soviet hierarchy, he pushed for greater openness within the system and suffered irreparable rifts, first with Lenin, then with Stalin. A dedicated intellectual and scholar and by all accounts smarter than Stalin, Trotsky was continuously outmaneuvered by his rival, who eventually had him exiled and assassinated. Rubenstein, a historian of the Soviet Union, seeks neither to lionize nor to demonize his subject, and the complicated portrait that emerges is of a man with a keen curiosity for human nature, but prone to the most stubborn closed-mindedness, a brilliant strategist and tactician who repeatedly erred and miscalculated. The author is particularly interested in Trotsky’s engagement with his Jewish identity, which manifested mostly in the political sphere. Fast-paced and engaging, Rubenstein’s brief biography provides a solid introduction to the period and a detailed examination of a man much studied but little understood. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/22/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-0-300-17841-8
Paperback - 225 pages - 978-0-300-19832-4
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