Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle Reading App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 18 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Frequently Bought Together
Leon Trotsky was a leader of the Russian revolution in 1917 and is the author of My Life, The History of the Russian Revolution, and The Revolution Betrayed. Ahmed Shawki is the editor of the International Socialist Review.
If you're looking for a light read, Trotsky's History of Russian Revolution is not the way to go by any means. But, despite its length, and despite the enormity of its topic, this is an amazingly accessible and engrossing account of one of the modern world's most important political and historical events, written by one of its main players. There are certainly some parts that are more difficult than others, and some where clearly Trotsky assumes an understanding of what happened in Russia during 1917 - an expectation of his readers that would have been utterly reasonable for the audience he was writing for, at the time he was writing, but which at times can be a bit confusing for a Westerner reading it almost 100 years later. But this is only occasionally frustrating and there is, in any event, a very helpful set of appendices and glossaris at the back that help you know who's who and what's what. It is, undoubtedly in my view, well worth the effort that it will take you to get through it. I don't think any other history of the revolution is as detailed, as comprehensive, and as engaging as this. There are times when it really has you on the edge of your seat - and that, no doubt, is largely because it is written by someone who was actually there.
Max Eastman, who was a friend of Trotsky, gives us a translation that feels tremendously fresh and was enthusiastically endorsed by Trotsky himself.
Was this review helpful to you?
Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution is a long, very complex, and extremely detailed treatment of the remarkably eventful period from February to October of 1917. Russia at the time was at war with Germany as part of an entente or three-country coalition that also included Great Britain and France. The Russian army was doing badly, its troops were ill-equipped and poorly supplied with essentials, and desertion and simple refusal to fight were commonplace. Some on the Russian political left, conspicuously the Bolsehviks led by Lenin and Trotsky, called for a separate peace, thereby hoping to put an end to the slaughter of Russians and enabling Russia's largely peasant army to return to its small plots of land.
Russia, however, was still an hereditary monarchy, headed by Tsar Nicholas II. The Tsar was oblivious to his army's mounting losses and indifferent to the privations suffered by most Russian citizens. He was insular, oddly detached, inexplicably cheerful, and easily led by the Tsarina, who was under the pernicious influence of Rasputin, a semi-literate monk who ostensibly possessed preternatural foresight and wisdom.
In February, with conditions throughout the country insufferably deteriorating and the army becoming more disorganized, ineffective, and badly bloodied, the Tsar was forced to abdicate. His most likely heirs had no interest in succeeding him, preferring lives of untroubled leisure. Mainstream political parties, including the Mensheviks and mis-named Social Revolutionaries, were indifferent to taking power, recognizing that Russia might prove to be simply ungovernable.Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
The details of Trotsky's fanatic terrorism and butchery, and his deceit about it within his falsified "History of the Russian Revolution", only fully emerged in the latter part of the 20th Century. Much was concealed even by his enemy Stalin, as it would have exposed Lenin, Trotsky's boss, as complicit. Trotsky was basically Lenin's enforcer and executioner. For example, his violent fist-shaking "take no prisoners" speech to the drunken mob in front of the Winter Palace in October 1917, defended only by a woman's brigade and troop of boy cadettes, led to unnecessary rapine slaughter. This event was white-washed also by the later propaganda films of Sergei Eisenstein, which distorted the violent Bolshevik coup against human freedom into something heroic. Trotsky lied to the Kronstadt sailors defending the remnants of the early Russian democracy to get them to surrender, and then had most of them shot, unleashing the Red Army to pillage Petrograd. As Generalisimo, he sent the Red Army across large areas of Russia to terrorize and murder the remnants of the democratic Soviets, stomping out all opposition to Bolshevism in what was little more than a prelude to the Red Terror and gulag death-camps. His conduct and advocacy of violent and global "War Communism" indicates, had he succeeded in the power struggle against Stalin, there would have been little difference in Soviet policies or behavior. For example see Trotsky: The Eternal Revolutionary; also Leaves from a Russian diary,: And thirty years after.