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My Life: An Attempt at an Autobiography (Dover Value Editions) Paperback – June 5, 2007


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My Life: An Attempt at an Autobiography (Dover Value Editions) + The Revolution Betrayed + History of the Russian Revolution
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Value Editions
  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Dover Ed edition (June 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486456099
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486456096
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Alfred Johnson on February 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Today we expect political memoir writers to take part in a game of show and tell about the most intimate details of their private personal lives on their road to celebrity. Refreshingly, you will find no such tantalizing details in Russian Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky's memoir written in 1930 just after Stalin had exiled him to Turkey. Instead you will find a thoughtful political self-examination by a man trying to draw the lessons of his fall from power in order to set his future political agenda. This task is in accord with his stated conception of his role as an individual agent at service in the historical struggle toward a socialist future. Thus, underlying the selection of events highlighted in the memoir such as the rise of the revolutionary wave in Russia in 1905 and 1917, the devastation to the socialist program of World War I and the degeneration of the Russian Revolution especially after Lenin's death and the failure of the German Revolution of 1923 is a sense of urgency about the need for continued struggle for a socialist future. It also provides a platform as well for polemics against those foes and former supporters who have either abandoned or betrayed that struggle.

At the beginning of the 21st century when socialist political programs are in decline it is hard to imagine the spirit that drove Trotsky to dedicate his whole life to the fight for a socialist society. However, at the beginning of the 20th century he represented only the most consistent and audacious of a revolutionary generation of Eastern Europeans and Russians who set out to change the history of the 20th century. It was as if the best and brightest of that generation were afraid, for better or worse, not to take part in the political struggles that would shape the modern world.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By P. Webster on March 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
Trotsky's autobiography is a fascinating account of his life from his childhood up to 1930, when he wrote the book, ten years before he was murdered by an agent of Stalin in 1940.

Trotsky made contributions to Marxist thought, for example in his theory of permanent revolution and the theory of combined and uneven development. But he is best known for his political activities: firstly as a key leader, alongside Lenin, of the 1917 Russian Revolution, and then later as the leading opponent of the bureaucratic tyranny of Stalin's regime, which destroyed the fledgling workers' democracy in the 1920s and forced Trotsky into exile.

Trotsky clung to the view that Russia under Stalin was a "degenerated workers' state". I think he was mistaken on this: much more convincing is Tony Cliff's theory that Russia (and, later, the other so-called "communist" regimes) was a state capitalist society. But despite this weakness, Trotsky did keep alive the fundamental Marxist idea that socialism must be based on internationalism and democracy. (The "dictatorship of the proletariat" was meant to mean the DEMOCRATIC control of society by the working class.)

One early episode gives a flavour of the book. At school Trotsky took part in a minor bit of rebellious behaviour in class against an unpleasant teacher. When the school cracked down, Trotsky learned his first political lesson. Some boys bravely stayed loyal to each other, some became tell-tales, and the majority wavered in the middle.

Trotsky writes: "These three groups never quite disappeared even during the years that followed. I met them again and again in my life in the most varied circumstances."

We can obviously see this in 1917.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Danny on February 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
This literary work is a good compliment to any Marxist/Communist collection. It contained everything that I was hoping for: An additional perspective of the aspirations of the political far left. Personal insight of the social and political atmosphere around the turn of the 20th century. Lenin's background and his relationship with the author. The politically sensitive history of Europe during WWI. A brief summary of the Red's rise to power and the Russian Civil War that followed. Stalin's secret to success that transformed The U.S.S.R. to a fascist state. The political climate at the eve of the global depression. And of course the boundaries of the civil freedom provided by a bourgeois influenced democracy.
If there is any complaint about the book, it would be the lack of being self critical. Although he admitted to committing errors he would rarely dissect those issues.
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By J. Keller on January 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're into Trotsky and Left Opposition politics as it were, this was a great read. Almost as good as Deutschet's 3 volume biography. Whatever criticism people have of Trotsky and/or Deutscher, these were volcanic times and both are by and large principled people. These books are reports from the front line on the first proletarian revolution. La Luta Continua. The Struggle Continues.
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