Trotsky: A Biography
- Author: Robert Service
- Publisher: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
- Published: November 2011
- ISBN-10: 0674062256
- ISBN-13: 9780674062252
- Format: Paperback
- Copyright: 2009
- Subject: BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Political
With this biography, Service (Russian history, Oxford Univ.; Stalin: A Biography) completes his trilogy on the founding figures of the Soviet Union: Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky. He claims that this is the first full-length biography of Trotsky written by a non-Trotskyist outside of Russia. As such, Service can ask the kinds of awkward questions omitted in the influential biographies by Isaac Deutscher and Pierre Broué. Also distinguishing the work is its extensive use of archival sources and rare contemporary published materials, much of it used for the first time in this biography. Service casts a critical eye on Trotsky's own writings and the interpretations of his followers and finds Trotsky's diagnosis of his defeat by Stalin self-serving and misleading. The author cogently argues that Trotsky himself unintentionally contributed to the construction of the Stalinist edifice and that Trotsky was not the realist he imagined himself to be but an ideologue unable to grasp the dynamics of contemporary geopolitics. Service succeeds in recovering many of the aspects of Trotsky's life that the revolutionary and his followers tried to bury. VERDICT A readable and persuasive biography that should be required reading for students of the Soviet Union and the history of world communism.—Sean Pollock, Wright State Univ., Dayton, OH[Page 71]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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