Leon Trotsky: A Revolutionary's Life
by Joshua Rubenstein
Born Lev Davidovich Bronstein in Southern Ukraine, Trotsky was both a world-class intellectual and a man capable of the most narrow-minded ideological dogmatism. He was an effective military strategist and an adept diplomat, who staked the fate of the Bolshevik revolution on the meager foundation of a Europe-wide Communist upheaval. He was a master politician who played his cards badly in the momentous struggle for power against Stalin in the 1920s. And he was an assimilated, indifferent Jew who was among the first to foresee that Hitler’s triumph would mean disaster for his fellow European Jews, and that Stalin would attempt to forge an alliance with Hitler if Soviet overtures to the Western democracies failed.
Here, Trotsky emerges as a brilliant and brilliantly flawed man. Rubenstein offers us a Trotsky who is mentally acute and impatient with others, one of the finest students of contemporary politics who refused to engage in the nitty-gritty of party organization in the 1920s, when Stalin was maneuvering, inexorably, toward Trotsky’s own political oblivion.
As Joshua Rubenstein writes in his preface, “Leon Trotsky haunts our historical memory. A preeminent revutionary figure and a masterful writer, Trotsky led an upheaval that helped to define the contours of twentieth-century politics.” In this lucid and judicious evocation of Trotsky’s life, Joshua Rubenstein gives us an interpretation for the twenty-first century.
There are many reasons to commend this work — among them, Rubenstein’s depoliticization of its subject and the book’s succinctness and readability."
"My first reaction was to wonder whether the 21st century needs a new interpretation of Trotsky, or even a new biography, but in fact this is both a good read and a balanced, plausible interpretation of the man in his times. Rubenstein sees things to admire and deplore, and achieves the mix of empathy and critical distance a good biographer needs.--Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Guardian
"In this new, concise biography, Rubenstein offers a more balanced view of Trotsky....There are many reasons to commend this work — among them, Rubenstein’s depoliticization of its subject and the book’s succinctness and readability." --Peter Ephross, The Forward
"As much a myth and a legend as a man, Leon Trotsky is an individual of deep contradictions... 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." Publishers Weekly
"An accessible scholarly account of a man whose life spanned continents, whose charisma was legendary and whose ideas sparked a revolution and its backlash." Kirkus Reviews
"An exemplary biography... Rubenstein depicts Trotsky as a tragic hero, a complex man whose brilliance and fallibility were inseparable." Jewish Advocate
The paperback version was chosen as one of the six best paperbacks by the Sunday Telegraph, November 10, 2013
HEAR RUBENSTEIN SPEAK ABOUT TROTSKY AND BIOGRAPHY AT CUNY: Start at 5:54 min
See footage of Trotsky with Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera
TO HEAR AN INTERVIEW WITH JOSHUA RUBENSTEIN ABOUT HIS BOOK ON TROTSKY
CLICK HERE Then go to “Beneath the Surface with Suzi Wiessman” Friday, January 6, 2012 and click on PLAY. Her interview with Joshua Rubenstein begins at the time 37:28
See Trotsky give a speech in Copenhagen, Denmark (in English):
To look at artifacts in the Trotsky Museum in Mexico in the house where he lived and was assassinated CLICK HERE
Myths about Trotsky still thrive: To read a 2005 article --with many inaccuracies about Trotsky himself-- about a claim of inheriting the weapon that assassinated Trotsky CLICK HERE