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Trotsky: A Biography


Trotsky: A Biography Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Robert Service completes his masterful trilogy on the founding figures of the Soviet Union in an eagerly anticipated, authoritative biography of Leon Trotsky.

Trotsky is perhaps the most intriguing and, given his prominence, the most understudied of the Soviet revolutionaries. Using new archival sources including family letters, party and military correspondence, confidential speeches, and medical records, Service offers new insights into Trotsky. He discusses Trotsky's fractious relations with the leaders he was trying to bring into a unified party before 1914; his attempt to disguise his political closeness to Stalin; and his role in the early 1920s as the progenitor of political and cultural Stalinism. Trotsky evinced a surprisingly glacial and schematic approach to making revolution. Service recounts Trotsky's role in the botched German revolution of 1923; his willingness to subject Europe to a Red Army invasion in the 1920s; and his assumption that peasants could easily be pushed onto collective farms. Service also sheds light on Trotsky's character and personality: his difficulties with his Jewish background, the development of his oratorical skills and his preference for writing over politicking, his inept handling of political factions and coldness toward associates, and his aversion to assuming personal power.

Although Trotsky's followers clung to the stubborn view of him as a pure revolutionary and a powerful intellect unjustly hounded into exile by Stalin, the reality is very different. This illuminating portrait of the man and his legacy sets the record straight.


A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2010


2009 Duff Cooper Prize

About the Author

Robert Service is a Fellow of the British Academy and Professor of Russian History at Oxford University.

University of Oxford

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Maps
  • Preface
  • A Note on Usages
  • Introduction
  • Part I: 1879–1913
    • The Family Bronstein
    • Upbringing
    • Schooling
    • The Young Revolutionary
    • Love and Prison
    • Siberian Exile
    • Iskra
    • Cutting Loose
    • The Year 1905
    • Trial and Punishment
    • Again the Emigrant
    • Unifier
    • Special Correspondent
  • Part II: 1914–1919
    • War on the War
    • Designs for Revolution
    • Atlantic Crossings
    • Nearly a Bolshevik
    • Threats and Promises
    • Seizure of Power
    • People’s Commissar
    • Trotsky and the Jews
    • Brest-Litovsk
    • Kazan and After
    • Almost the Commander
    • Red Victory
    • World Revolution
  • Part III: 1920–1928
    • Images and the Life
    • Peace and War
    • Back from the Brink
    • Disputing about Reform
    • The Politics of Illness
    • The Left Opposition
    • On the Cultural Front
    • Failing to Succeed
    • Entourage and Faction
    • Living with Trotsky
    • What Trotsky Wanted
    • Last Stand in Moscow
    • Alma-Ata
  • Part IV: 1929–1940
    • Bü Yü Kada
    • Looking for Revolutions
    • The Writer
    • Russian Connections
    • Europe South and North
    • Setting Up in Mexico
    • The Fourth International
    • Trotsky and His Women
    • ‘The Russian Question’
    • Confronting the Philosophers
    • The Second World War
    • Assassination
    • The Keepers and the Flame
  • Notes
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index

Product Details

Service, Robert
Belknap Press
History-Europe - Russia & the Former Soviet Union
History, Modern -- 20th century.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
50 halftones
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

Biography » Political
History and Social Science » Russia » General Russian History
History and Social Science » Russia » Russian Revolution
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » General
History and Social Science » World History » Russia

Trotsky: A Biography New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$24.50 In Stock
Product details 648 pages Belknap Press - English 9780674062252 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of 2010
"Synopsis" by , 2009 Duff Cooper Prize
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