'The work I am engaged in now...is the most important work of my life - more important than 1917, more important than the period of the Civil War or any other.'
So wrote Trotsky in 1935. The ranks of his followers were thin indeed, yet the tasks before him were immense.
Between his final exile in 1929 and his murder in 1940, Trotsky produced unequalled analyses of fascism, of the revolution in Spain, and the consolidation of Stalin's power in Russia.
His efforts to provide an alternative to the barbarism that ended in the Holocaust and the second world war were thwarted then, but remain as invaluable guides to understanding the return of such threats today.
Tony Cliff makes extensive use of archives recently opened in both the US and the former USSR to produce a unique interpretation of these great events.