Leon Trotsky. A Revolutionarys Life (Jewish Lives)

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In one flashback scene, an uncertain Stalin opposes the return of the death penalty , only to be convinced by Trotsky. Another scene suggests that Trotsky, not Lenin, was responsible for the deaths of the tsar and his family.

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Putting the blame onto Trotsky serves two purposes. The first is to tip a hat toward modern Communist Party loyalists who still hold sway inside Russia. One other historical inaccuracy is particularly egregious. Anti-Semitism was certainly rampant in Russia then—and is hardly rare now—but the deluge of slurs seems gratuitous.

What is the moral of the story being told by Channel 1? Foreign powers lurk behind the rising stars of Russian politics. Furthermore, revolution is costly; we will pay in the form of lives, territory, and world standing. In other words, Trotsky seems to repaint the mother of all color revolutions as a cautionary tale to younger generations. The parallels to present-day Russia are evident.

The Kremlin often accuses political opponents , such as Alexey Navalny , of being agents of foreign powers. The outspoken Putin critic Boris Nemtsov, a vocal supporter of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, was assassinated just steps from the Kremlin in Nicole M. Ford teaches Comparative Politics at the University of Tampa. She specializes in Russia and the post-Soviet sphere.

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola. In the wake of the drone attacks on Saudi Arabia, the Russian president has positioned himself as a peacemaker.


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But continued conflict is his friend. Siblings of former U. Marine detained in Moscow work around the clock to procure his release. Sign up for free access to 1 article per month and weekly email updates from expert policy analysts. Create a Foreign Policy account to access 1 article per month and free newsletters developed by policy experts.

Eminent Biography: Joshua Rubenstein on Leon Trotsky | Yale University Press Blog

Thank you for being an FP Basic subscriber. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Leon Trotsky by Joshua Rubenstein.

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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 s. Here, Trotsky emerges as a brilliant and brilliantly flawed man.


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  • A preeminent revolutionary figure and a masterful writer, Trotsky led an upheaval that helped to define the contours of twentieth-century politics. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Jewish Lives. Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Leon Trotsky , please sign up.

    Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. An interesting biography of one of the most tragic political figures of the twentieth century, written in an exciting style, benefiting from a balanced, critical, not at all hagiographic approach to Trotsky's life. The author calls for numerous writings about Trotsky's life, contradicting many interpretations especially by Isaac Deutscher and offering his own findings and assessments.

    Oct 18, James rated it really liked it Shelves: revolution , russian-history-literature. Short interesting take. View 1 comment. Apr 03, Christopher Potter rated it it was amazing. A terrifically-executed concise biography of a brilliant and arrogant ideologue who became an unprincipled murderous maniac. The most interesting parts were the overviews of the deliberately misleading propaganda tactics used by the Tsarist regime and later by the Bolshevik revolutionaries -- tactics that plainly live on long after those particular regimes have entered "the dustbin of history" a phrase that Trotsky apparently coined.

    Oct 11, Louise rated it it was amazing Shelves: russia-bio-hist , biography , writers. This page book compares well with the page Robert Service biography of Trotsky: A Biography. While keeping Trotsky's full life in perspective, author Joshua Rubenstein notes the influence of Trotsky's Jewish ethnicity on his actions and outlook and how it could be, and was, used against him.

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    Of the two books, Service has a more detailed chronology of his life, but Rubenstein's gives a far better portrait of who this man was. In exploring Trotsky's Jewish roots, he brings up points This page book compares well with the page Robert Service biography of Trotsky: A Biography.

    Old chestnuts

    In exploring Trotsky's Jewish roots, he brings up points not often said out loud about Pre-Revolutionary Russia. While many histories note the pogroms, they rarely assign responsibility; Rubenstein cites sources that show, or in some cases circumstantially show, the pogroms to be policy directly from the tsar.

    In observing the large number of Jews in the revolution, Rubenstein notes that the more thoughtful members of the autocracy noted that had they been treated as badly as the Jews, they join the revolution too. In Post-Revolutionary Russia, Rubenstein notes that Stalin's call to German communists to break with other socialists helped pave the way for Hitler. Rubenstein shows how David Bronstein, Trotsky's father and successful farmer, could be cruel to his son and crueler yet to the peasants whose lives depended on him.

    In the Service book, the expropriation of the family farm seems to come in the course of the unfolding revolution. While Rubenstein doesn't describe the "reform" of the Bronstein land, his observations provide insight into how Trotsky developed the views that ultimately led to his father losing his land. Trotsly's relationships with Lenin and Stalin are also more clearly drawn by Rubenstein than by Service. Two items stick with me: In , Lenin took the name "Pravda", meaning truth of the newspaper Trotsky had established and nurtured, for his own Lenin's paper.

    In , Stalin, whom Trotsky had never met, walked into his apartment without knocking, helped himself to tea, and walked out. Both actions show an early disposition to marginalize Trotsky.

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    Rubenstein has a good description of Trotsky's role in creating the dictatorial monolith that shut him out and likely killed most of his family. The cover portrait shows the well-dressed Trotsky in a "young revolutionary" pose. The expression is both studied and arrogant. The inside portrait threw me Someone's kindly uncle? No it is Trotsky fishing in Mexico.

    In these two portraits we see the Trotsky enigma.

    How did the child who sympathized with the peasants whom his father abused come to brutalize so many?

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