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Trotsky, The Passionate Revolutionary  (Hardback)

P&S History 20th Century Biographies Military

By Allan Todd
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 272
Illustrations: 30 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399010764
Published: 30th July 2022


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Although Trotsky was dramatically assassinated just over eighty years ago, he remains a controversial figure. He has had many biographers over the decades - ranging from the overly-sympathetic, to the extremely-hostile. Robert Service, his most recent biographer, expressed the hope that his book would ‘finish off’ Trotsky - a job he believed the ice-axe had failed to do in 1940!

This biography, as expected, deals with those aspects for which Trotsky is noted: his passionate and fiery oratory which captivated and inspired huge crowds; organising the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917; masterminding the creation of the Red Army and ensuring its victory during the Civil War; becoming the most determined opponent of Stalin’s creation of a monolithic party and state; being a Marxist theoretician of socialist revolution and combatting fascism; and, of course, being the originator of the very specific brand of revolutionary socialism that, as early as 1906, became known as Trotskyism.

However, this biography also explores other aspects of Trotsky’s life which are not so well-known. In particular, from a very early age, his love of writing: the world of books and publishing became his first passion; it remained his first love and, if revolutionary politics had not taken over, his life would have been a very literary one. Immediately after the November Revolution, he hoped to return to his literary work, believing his main practical work as a revolutionary was over. His writings on art and literature, when compared to the stultifying strictures of the ‘Socialist Realism’ associated with Stalinism, are remarkably sympathetic and open; while he also wrote many perceptive articles as a war correspondent, covering both the Balkan Wars and the early stages of the First World War.

Other aspects covered by this biography concern his family life, and his relationships with his children. Also explored is his love-life - while it is known he had a brief affair with the Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, there are also suggestions he may have had other affairs. Whatever the truth of such allegations, he certainly maintained a passionate relationship with his long-term companion, Natalya Sedova; and readers should be aware that one proof of that, provided towards the end of this book, contains very explicit language.

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About Allan Todd

Allan Todd was a teacher, exam workshop leader and senior examiner of 20th Century/Modern World History for over 25 years. He also lectured in Modern European and World History for the Extra-Mural Boards of Cambridge University and the University of East Anglia, and has written numerous GCSE, A Level and IB History textbooks and revision guides - including Revolutions, 1789-1917.

Perfect Partner

The Russian Revolution World War to Civil War 1917-1921 (Paperback)

Often the drama of the October Revolution and the Bolshevik seizure of power overshadow the disastrous Russian-German war that preceded it and the extended, confusing, many-sided civil war between the Reds and the Whites that followed. But Nik Cornish’s vivid photographic history gives equal coverage to each of these momentous events and shows how the Russian empire of the Romanovs was transformed into the Soviet dictatorship. Contemporary photographs show the leading characters in the drama – Tsar Nicholas II, Kerensky, Lenin and Trotsky and other Bosheviks, and the White commanders Denikin,…

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