History of the Russian Revolution by Leon Trotsky

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“During the first two months of 1917 Russia was still a Romanov monarchy. Eight months later the Bolsheviks stood at the helm. They were little known to anybody when the year began, and their leaders were still under indictment for state treason when they came to power. You will not find another such sharp turn in history especially if you remember that it involves a nation of 150 million people. It is clear that the events of 1917, whatever you think of them, deserve study.”
--Leon Trotsky, from History of the Russian Revolution

Regarded by many as among the most powerful works of history ever written, this book offers an unparalleled account of one of the most pivotal and hotly debated events in world history. This book reveals, from the perspective of one of its central actors, the Russian Revolution’s profoundly democratic, emancipatory character.

Originally published in three parts, Trotsky’s masterpiece is collected here in a single volume. It serves as the most vital and inspiring record of the Russian Revolution to date.

“[T]he greatest history of an event that I know.”
--C. L. R. James

“In Trotsky all passions were aroused, but his thought remained calm and his vision clear.... His involvement in the struggle, far from blurring his sight, sharpens it.... The History is his crowning work, both in scale and power and as the fullest expression of his ideas on revolution. As an account of a revolution, given by one of its chief actors, it stands unique in world literature.”
--Isaac Deutscher

About Leon Trotsky

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Leon Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronshteyn, the son of a prosperous Jewish farmer in the Ukraine. Sent to Odessa for his secondary-school education, he became a member of a Marxist circle in 1896. Imprisoned many times, he escaped from exile in Siberia in 1902 by using the name of a jailer called Trotsky on a false passport. During World War I, he lived in Switzerland, France, and New York City, where he edited the newspaper Novy Mir (New World). In 1917, after the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II, he went back to Russia and joined Lenin in the first, abortive, July Revolution of the Bolsheviks. A key organizer of the successful October Revolution, he was People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs in the Lenin regime. But antagonism developed between him and Joseph Stalin during the Civil War of 1918--20, and after Lenin's death Stalin exiled him. Trotsky fled across Siberia to Norway, France, and finally Mexico, carrying with him source material on his experiences in the revolution. In Mexico he began working on the biography of his bitter enemy Stalin in a heavily barred and guarded home in Coyoacan. He realized he was racing against time and was able to complete 7 of the 12 chapters before a member of the Soviet secret police managed to work his way into the household by posing as a convert to Trotskyism. An attempt made on Trotsky's life in May 1940 was unsuccessful. Two months later another attempt was made. This one was successful---Trotsky was killed with a pickax at the desk where he was writing "Stalin," and the manuscript was spattered with its author's blood. The construction of the remaining five chapters was accomplished by the translator Charles Malamuth, from notes, worksheets, and fragments. Malamuth's translation of the initial chapters had been completed and checked by Trotsky before his death. A ruthless, energetic, and messianic visionary, Trotsky inspired both confidence and mistrust among those around him. In his later years, he was the focus of communists opposed to Stalin. A writer of power and venom, he was an advocate of permanent world revolution. Ahmed Shawki is the editor of the International Socialist Review.
Published July 1, 2008 by Haymarket Books. 993 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Travel, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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