Trotsky: A Biography
We’ve been long time fans of Robert Service’s work here at EL and the latest in a trilogy of biographies is about to hit the shelf. Trotsky has been a few years in he making following on from the excellent Lenin and Stalin books, each having a 4 year gap between them.
Trotsky, like a few revolutionary figures, have gained a myth that often overshadows the reality of the person. The image being often more important to rally an idea or populous around. Few have gained more mythical status than Trotsky who has been seen as the intellectual successor to Lenin in the early USSR full of revolutionary rhetoric and success in the civil war and who was out manoeuvred by Stalin who eventually had him assassinated after fleeing from country to country.
What cannot be denied, however, is the impact this troika of men had on the history of our continent. Together they forged a society which, for good or ill, shaped the destiny of half of Europe for over 70 years.
What sets Robert Service’s work often apart from his contemporaries is both his wealth of knowledge and research on Russia and the former Soviet Union but in addition the way he makes his work so approachable and easy to read in a way which makes it compulsive to keep turning those pages. This new work focuses more on the man then the myth and turns up some surprising contradictions to the projected image.
This is a work which deserves the acclaim it will no doubt obtain.