From Publishers Weekly
Although for years Trotsky had condemned Lenin as a potential dictator, in 1917 he became a radical Bolshevik, a hard-line Leninist committed to a one-party state with a monopoly of power sustained through terror and violence. Together with Lenin, the military leader and fiery orator (born Lev Davidovich Bronstein in 1879) liquidated opponents, inaugurated forced collective labor and unleashed a violent campaign against religion. Using hitherto unavailable materials from Soviet archives, Volkogonov, special assistant to Boris Yeltsin, persuasively argues that Trotsky, while preaching global revolution, helped Lenin lay the foundations of a repressive domestic system that grew organically into the totalitarian dictatorship presided over by Stalin, Trotsky's rival. Assassinated in Mexico in 1940 by one of Stalin's henchmen, Trotsky, according to this meticulous, dense political biography, shares responsibility for the Red Terror that claimed him as victim. Complementing Volkogonov's recent critical biographies of Stalin and Lenin, this compelling study lays to rest the image of Trotsky as a persecuted idealist, blameless victim of Stalin's duplicity.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Currently a special assistant to Russia's President Boris Yeltsin, Volkogonov (Lenin: A New Biography, LJ 10/15/94, and Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy, LJ 9/15/91) has carefully mined mountains of newly released sources in this study of Trotsky. The latest effort is a well-conceived political biography that clearly redresses the paucity of reliable works on the enigmatic Trotsky. It captures his enormous energy, his restless intellect, and his unswerving faith in the inevitability of world revolution. Volkogonov's subject has a tragic Greek cast?from his meteoric rise under Lenin to his brutal demise under Stalin. The present work complements and frequently overshadows Isaac Deutscher's comprehensive three-volume study (1954-63). Recommended for all but the smallest collections.?Mark R. Yerburgh, Fern Ridge Community Lib., Veneta, Ore.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.