From being a patriotic myth, the Russian people have become an awful reality… Leon Trotsky


To find the modern equivalent of Trotsky you probably need to think of Che Guevara – a vicious fighter dedicated to himself and his cause [only to the extent that his cause is dedicated to him] – who is better known through a carefully constructed disguise as a thinker, who is also a man of action and who has the best interests of humanity at heart. In this country our two great tragedies are to believe the press and to accept the wisdom of those who are credentialed but not always wise. Thus Trotsky having lost in a power struggle to Stalin finds himself defended by John Dewey,  Franz Boas,  John Chamberlain,  John Dos Passos,  Louis Hacker,  Sidney Hook,  Suzanne La FolletteReinhold Niebuhr,  George Novack, Norman Thomas and Edmund Wilson – a veritable who’s who of the chattering class of their day.

Lizards Lenin and Trotsky in tuxedoes and top hats standing on platform in parlor receiving the attention of upper classes

Lizards Lenin and Trotsky in tuxedoes and top hats standing on platform in parlor receiving the attention of upper classes

To be precise Trotsky supported proletarian internationalism with an authentic dictatorship of the proletariat based on working-class self-emancipation and mass democracy. To be even more precise what this means in simple English is that a  democracy based solely on the will of the workers – which will would be conveniently explained, informed and regulated by ideologically sound persons [such as Trotsky himself!] – would enjoy absolute power. The only reason Stalin tried Trotsky is because Trotsky was unable to try Stalin and rather than saying a curse on both your houses the so-called intelligentsia lionized the lesser of two evils – just a quarter of a century later it was not acceptable to publicly praise Castro but making a hero of Che was intellectually de rigueur and commercially successful.

Trotsky : downfall of a revolutionary New York: Harper, c 2010 Bertrand M. Patenaude Trotsky, Leon, 1879-1940 Assassination Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. 370 p.: ill.; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG 

German military officer pulling bear (Russia) by a string while man (Trotsky) counts coins "30 pieces, Leon Trotsky, for service rendered," and Japanese soldier approaches in background.

German military officer pulling bear (Russia) by a string while man (Trotsky) counts coins “30 pieces, Leon Trotsky, for service rendered,” and Japanese soldier approaches in background.

Few political figures of the twentieth century have aroused as much passion, controversy, and curiosity as Leon Trotsky. Trotsky was that rare combination of the man of ideas and the man of action. His role in history — his epic rise and fall, his fiery persona, his violent end in Mexico in August 1940 —holds a fascination that transcends the history of the Russian Revolution.

Based on firsthand research, this biography examines Trotsky’s remarkable life from the perspective of his last exile in Mexico. Bertrand M. Patenaude interweaves the story of Trotsky’s final years in Mexico with flashbacks to pivotal episodes in his career as a young Marxist, revolutionary hero, Red Army chief, Bolshevik leader, outcast from Stalin’s USSR, and ultimately heretic of the Kremlin, targeted for assassination by its secret police. He recounts the contentious Dewey Commission hearings and the passionate debates among liberals and Communists in the United States and Europe over the Moscow Trials and the charges made against Trotsky.

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Drawing on Trotsky’s private correspondence and diaries, as well as the testimonies of his American bodyguards and secretaries, Patenaude sheds new light on Trotsky’s tumultuous friendship with painter Diego Rivera; his affair with Rivera’s wife, Frida Kahlo; and his torment as his family and comrades became victims of the Great Terror. Patenaude also turns to KGB files to document Stalin’s efforts to eliminate the man he considered his nemesis — including a failed commando raid on Trotsky’s home three months before his death.

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