Stalin's decisions to exile Trotsky from the Soviet Union and then to order his assassination turned Trotsky into a martyr for many Western leftists. The world likes its underdogs. Welcome back. Here it is an university work. Service's biography is replete with curiously mean-spirited commentary on Trotsky's relationships with his parents, wives and children. A ‘dis-Service’ to Leon Trotsky. The author, Robert Service, does a fine job of giving the reader a firm grasp of the life of Trotsky and Service achieves this without bias and without overloading the reader with unnecessary detail. Lost the power struggle against Stalin leading to his expulsion from the Soviet Union. Service shows how it was/is out of proportion to his qualities as a person and as a political leader. Review: Trotsky, a Biography by Robert Service. He had a habit of using people until they were no longer politically useful. An even-handed review of the complex and contradictory character of Trotsky. Service focuses more on Trotsky's intellectual development, rather than on the more exciting elements of his life. And does the failure of the Soviet experiment discredit all of the nobler aims which the human impulse towards so. By Robert Service Macmillan, £25. Was there ever a moment when the Russian experiment with full market socialism was not on the track to an oppressive & murderous outcome? Review: Trotsky, a Biography by Robert Service. It was interresting to read both a biography of Staline and Trotsky. Isaac Deutscher's sympathetic three-volume biography of Trotsky, and Trotsky's own autobiography, My Life, assiduously fed these beliefs. The romanticized vision of Trotsky's leadership of the soviets is revealed to be no better, and possibly worse, than Stalin, due to similar governing methods of terror and totalitarianism. Excellent biography of an extraordinary historical figure. (See also “Leon Trotsky and the Post-Soviet School of Historical Falsification”) €€€Trotsky: A Biography Robert Service Harvard University Press Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2009 The Specter of Leon Trotsky €€€In 1955 James Burnham, the … To purchase it in pamphlet form, click here. For example, he writes of Trotsky's decision to escape Siberian exile in 1902 to continue his revolutionary work, "No sooner had he fathered a couple of children than he decided to run off." Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Trotsky: A Biography at Amazon.com. Robert Service is a Fellow of the British Academy and of St Antony's College, Oxford. Trotsky was one of the most important figures of the Russian Revolution. For the rest of us, the history nuts or the student of modern history, this is the biogra. Leon Trotsky checks both boxes. Canadian readers will especially appreciate Service's recounting of Trotsky's detention in Halifax while en route to Russia in April, 1917, at a time when Trotsky desperately wanted to return home to take part in the evolving revolution. 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Yet Trotsky's first wife, Alexandra, a revolutionary herself, supported his decision, and Trotsky maintained regular contact with her and his two daughters, Nina and Zina, afterward. The reality is very different, as this masterful and compelling biography reveals. " Without Trotsky's efforts, the Bolsheviks might have been consigned to the dustbin of history after mere months, rather than decades. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. Robert Service is a British academic and historian of modern Russia and the Soviet Union. A charismatic man, with abundant literary gifts, including polemics and oratory, absolutely committed to revolution. He led the Red Army in the Civil War. (I have read them both.) Again, as with Lenin and Stalin, Service clearly points out how Trotsky was never the idealised socialist, but an architect of state terror and other aspects easily condemned in hindsight. Trotsky was instrumental in the creation of the secret police services during the Red Terror, which would later claim a higher body count than the Nazi SS (and also killed more communists than Hitler). If only Trotsky had won the leadership struggle after Lenin's death in 1924, the story goes, the Soviet Union would never have become the murderous totalitarian state built under Stalin. International Reviews Theory & History. Robert Service, who authored biographies of V. I. Lenin and Joseph Stalin and a history of world communism, has now published a biography of Leon Trotsky. That this book is, allegedly, the first “ full-length biography of Trotsky written by someone outside Russia who is not a Trotskyist” . Trotsky interest me because it is a french passion (not the better). He rightly argues that a Soviet Union under Trotsky would still have been an authoritarian socialist state - Trotsky made no bones about his belief that the party should act decisively to build communism in the Soviet Union regardless of the consequences. But perhaps the biggest reason he has escaped comparatively unscathed is that for those on the far left. His fearless leadership and organizational skills are celebrated in his pivotal roles in the October Revolution and the Red Army. Robert John Service (born 29 October 1947) is a British historian, academic, and author who has written extensively on the history of the Soviet Union, particularly the era from the October Revolution to Stalin's death. On the positive side of the ledger, Trotsky comes across as a brilliant orator, a prolific writer and an unusually brave revolutionary. Publication date 2009 Topics Trotsky, Leon, -- 1879-1940, Revolutionaries -- Soviet Union -- Biography, Statesmen -- Soviet Union -- Biography, Exiles -- Russia -- Biography, Communism -- Soviet Union -- History, Russia -- Politics and government -- 1894-1917, Soviet Union -- Politics and … Overall the cast was set for the Soviet Union during the creation of the "dictatorship of the proletariat". Kick back with the Daily Universal Crossword. It is a good school for manipulation and success in business. Even more so than Lenin, Trotsky's connection to 'the source' seems to have been idiosyncratic, to say the least. The world likes its underdogs. But perhaps the biggest reason he has escaped comparatively unscathed is that for those on the far left, Trotsky is the only potential hero they can dredge up from the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Just maybe this shows he is doing a good job of providing all the necessary complexities and nuances for such interesting historical figures. This has occurred for a variety of reasons, including his break with Stalin, his exhaustive writings that critiqued Stalin, and his assassination (which made him a martyr), most likely ordered by Stalin. At the same time, he was personally austere, avoiding alcohol and cigarettes, taking offence at foul language and preferring to live modestly. Of course, that is a reflection of Trotsky's milieu. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Robert Service draws on hitherto unexamined archives and on his profound understanding of Russian history to draw a portrait of the man and his legacy, revealing that though his followers have represented Trotsky as a pure revolutionary soul and a powerful intellect unjustly hounded into exile by Stalin and his henchmen, the reality is very different. But that this hope for him is ultimately illusory -- by his own words & deeds, Trotsky both said & proved that he would have been at least as ruthless & oppressive as Lenin. Well written, well supported, though actually a bit lean through the years of the Revolution. Read Trotsky: A Biography book reviews & author details and more at Amazon.in. He lost the competition to succeed Lenin because of his limitations—inability to build coalitions, ability to make enemies, and failure to see where events were leading. Leon Trotsky is the paradigmatic revolutionary. Practical concerns overrode theory even when the man was clearly at his best as a provider of ideological justification for the October Revolution and its (embattled) legacy. Trotsky Item Preview remove-circle Share or Embed This Item. Yet Service then blames Trotsky for Zina's suicide in 1933, claiming that Trotsky had mishandled her schizophrenia and, as a result, "Zina had gone to her death when a little dosing of paternal consideration might have made all the difference." Trotsky dedicated his life to the 'proletarian revolution.' Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. After reading this account, it's with a bittersweet awareness that his talents were directed a to misguided experiment. Very good. Some information in it may no longer be current. He and the other Communists were intellectuals and r. A straight forward biography of the real life Emmanuel Goldstein. Trotsky is perhaps the most intriguing and, given his prominence, the most understudied of the Soviet revolutionaries. Leon Trotsky checks both boxes. Professional revolutionary at work: Trotsky reads international communist papers while in Turkey . Trotsky always wanted to be in the thick of the action. December 25, 2009 -- ESSF-- Robert Service has written, to great acclaim, a new biography of Leon Trotsky.“Trotsky moved like a bright comet across the political sky,” Service tells us. Review: Trotsky: A Biography. The world also likes cruel men who are less cruel than other men. Robert John Service FBA (born 29 October 1947) is a British historian, academic, and author who has written extensively on the history of the Soviet Union, particularly the era from the October Revolution to Stalin's death. It is a good school for manipulation and success in business. Many politicians, journalist and other was trotskyst when they were young. The world also likes cruel men who are less cruel than other men. He was until 2013 a professor of Russian history at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, and a senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.He is best … This one is quite different than Kersaudy's book. I had previously read Service's biography of Lenin, and I'm coming to really enjoy his writing style. This biography of Trotsky is part of a trilogy, the other two being biographies of Lenin & Stalin. Trostsky, Robert Service's debunking biography, proves that being Stalin’s great enemy does not make Trotsky in any way a good man, says Simon Sebag Montefiore in a review first published in 2009. Trotsky comes through as a very power-hungry person, not position-hungry (he displayed self-restraint in moments of acquisition of power because of his being a Jew); he tried to rub his meditated ideological positions against the party, nation, and populace. I found this book both insightful and thorough. The repeated snide comments on Trotsky's family relationships jar uncomfortably with the accompanying evidence that Trotsky in fact cared deeply about his family members and went out of his way to support them. In the end, though, the great contribution of Service's trilogy of biographies is to further demonstrate that individual leaders can indeed change the course of history. He was brilliant, an outstanding writer and polemicist, decisive, and personally brave. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. As he was dragged off the ship under British orders, Trotsky "shouted and kicked the sailors in impotent fury." His justification? Trotsky also saw Nazism as a menace from early on, and a Trotsky-led Soviet Union would never have signed the 1939 Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact. Probably the best biography of Trotsky available, but not for the timid or the merely curious; those who do not want to know every available detail of Trotsky's life, but only an overview, best look elsewhere. But Service's dogged determination to set the record straight means that the book often reads as a response to earlier works rather than a self-contained volume. Even as we approach the 20th anniversary of the demise of the Soviet Union, it's legacy is still hotly debated. For a book with a reputation of being overly biased and hateful against Trotsky, this books wasn't very biased and hateful against Trotsky. He has written several books, including the highly acclaimed Lenin: A Biography, Russia: Experiment with a People, Stalin: A Biography and Comrades: A History of World Communism, as well as many other books on Russia's past and present.Trotsky: A Biography was awarded the 2009 Duff Cooper Prize.Married … This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Robert Service draws on hitherto unexamined archives and on his profound understanding of Russian history to draw a portrait of the man and his legacy, revealing that though his followers have represented Trotsky as a pure revolutionary soul and a powerful intellect unjustly hounded into exile by Stalin and his henchmen. by Peter Savodnik. by Belknap. Might read Stalin and Lenin by the same author. He... Leon Trotsky’s Struggle Against Stalinism. This book explains why this vision is naive and ignorant, based solely on Trotsky`s better verbal skills. Thank you for your patience. This article was published more than 10 years ago. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. A critical biography of Leiba Bronstein (Better known to the world as Leon Trotsky), Service does an excellent job of exploring the life, the complexities, and the many hypocrisies of this giant of 20th century history. Trotsky is, I think, an innately fascinating historical figure. The Leninist who wanted to outlenin Lenin, the purist of the communist world revolution, the mightiest pen of Oktober. He was until 2013 a professor of Russian history at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, and a senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.He is best … It feels like every meeting he ever went to is described in detail, while the two years he spent leading the Red Army during the wars after the Revolution (despite having no military experience) go by too quickly. While it is obvious Robert Service does not care for either Trotsky's position or Leon as a man, it is also obvious that his knowledge into the inner workings and mechanics of the early communist movement in Russia/USSR is quite detailed. He was until 2013 a professor of Russian history at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, and a senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.. Service is best known … Trotsky interest me because it is a french passion (not the better). Robert Service of Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the University of Oxford talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the life and death of Leon Trotsky. It feels like every meeting he ever went to is described in detail, while the two years he spent leading the Red Army during the wars after the Revolution (despite having no military experience) go by too quickly. This one is quite different than Kersaudy's book. Even without Stalin, somebody would've sidelined him after 1924. This was a really interesting book, I wish it would've talked more about his ideas though. October 14, 2009...Trotsky, the subject of Service’ s tome. Despite his gifts and unquestionable dedication to the cause, there was little in the man to admire. Hagiography this is not--Service is much more critical of Trotsky than the other two revolutionaries. She co-edits the journal Review of International Political Economy. Here it is an university work. His factiousness led to his demise from party leadership, expulsion, exile, death, and murder. Service has done a remarkable job collecting, researching and writing the tome. A straight forward biography of the real life Emmanuel Goldstein. Trotsky: A Biography By Robert Service Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009 600 pages . 74 reviews Robert Service completes his masterful trilogy on the founding figures of the Soviet Union in an eagerly anticipated, authoritative biography of Leon Trotsky. Review of Robert Service's Trotsky By David North 11 November 2009 €€€This essay is available in pdf format (letter or A4). Robert John Service 29 Oktober 1947 (umur 73) Britania Raya: Karya akademis; Minat utama: Sejarah Rusia (1917–53) Karya terkenal: Biografi Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, dan Leon Trotsky: Robert John Service (lahir di Britania Raya, 29 Oktober 1947; umur 73 tahun) adalah seorang sejarawan, akademisi, dan pengarang Inggris yang menulis tentang sejarah Uni Soviet, terutama era dari Revolusi Oktober … Again, for me at least, the most interesting aspect was Service's analysis of Trotsky's marxism. The last chapter baldly states that "most of [Trotsky's] immediate family had gone to their deaths because of him," bizarrely blaming Trotsky rather than Stalin for the political repression of Trotsky's family members in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. A “Dis-Service” to Leon Trotsky – Review of Robert Service’s Biography This book is very thick – running to 600 pages – but is very thin when it comes to an honest political examination and analysis of the ideas of Leon Trotsky, the subject of Service’’s tome. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to, To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. When it doesn't have one it makes one. Juliet Johnson is associate professor of political science at McGill University. Trotsky: A Biography by Professor Robert Service, has been brought out with considerable fanfare. He was a brilliant leader. Based on Service's biography of Trotsky, the conversation covers Trotsky's influence on the Russian Revolution, his influence on policy alongside Lenin, his expulsion from Soviet Union in 1928 and his murder in 1940 by Stalin's order. He even brought physically and mentally unstable Zina to live with him in Turkish exile in order to look after her health, during which time she set fire to the house and burned Trotsky's entire book collection. A Soviet Union under Trotsky would thus probably have been spared the Stalinist cult of personality and the Great Terror. In moments where the book explores his charisma in public visible life, Trotsky glitters glamorously. I think I have to disagree with the other reviewers who accuse Robert Service of being non-partial, or biased against Trotsky. While it is obvious Robert Service does not care for either Trotsky's position or Leon as a man, it is also obvious that his knowledge into the inner workings and mechanics of the early communist movement in Russia/USSR is quite detailed. And unquestionable dedication to the conversation ) giants of the Russian Civil War for Trotsky 's escapes. 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