By Paul Le Blanc
There are few more divisive names in modern history than that of the diehard revolutionary Leon Trotsky. To some he was a hypocritical totalitarian, while to many others he was a revolutionary liberator, an idealist determined to crush an outdated, oppressive dynasty in order to replace it with a proletarian socialist commonwealth. But one thing is agreed: his impact as a leader in the Russian Revolution and his widely read polemical books and articles make Trotsky one of the most influential political figures of the twentieth century.
In this book, Paul Le Blanc delves deep into Trotsky's life and his social, sexual and political relationships to both criticize and defend the distinctive actions and opinions this complex character generated. He shows how the hero leader of the Red Army in the Revolution found himself in a losing struggle in the 1920s in his efforts to revitalize the revolutionary wing of the labour movement. Gradually marginalized by ideological opponents within the Soviet bureaucracy, notably Stalin, Trotsky was exiled to Central Asia in 1928. The following year he was banished from the USSR.
What followed was a series of makeshift homes with his family circle, first on an island near Istanbul, then in France, then Norway until in 1937 Trotsky, his family and his close supporters settled in Mexico, where he was murdered by a Stalinist agent three years later.
Drawing from a rich array of sources, Le Blanc offers a balanced portrait of Trotsky in a historical context that will be invaluable for students, scholars or anyone with an interest in political history and extraordinary lives.