robert service, trotsky review

I read this book for a very VAIN reason- the fact that it was discredited by the American Historical Review. He was until 2013 a professor of Russian history at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, and a senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.He is best … The world likes its underdogs. Scoop a new vibe in the numbers and do today’s Daily Sudoku. Perhaps more seriously, it leads him to overstate Trotsky's sins in two key realms: his family life and his similarities to Stalin. He is currently a professor of Russian history at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, and a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.As an author Service is … Trotsky interest me because it is a french passion (not the better). It suffers from needed detail about Trotsky's philosophy and the internal (and interminable) disputes between communist factions. Isaac Deutscher's sympathetic three-volume biography of Trotsky, and Trotsky's own autobiography, My Life, assiduously fed these beliefs. Trotsky dedicated his life to the 'proletarian revolution.' On the positive side of the ledger, Trotsky comes across as a brilliant orator, a prolific writer and an unusually brave revolutionary. Trotsky interest me because it is a french passion (not the better). Editor, October 15, 2009 Reading Time: 9 minutes. A “Dis-Service” to Leon Trotsky – Review of Robert Service’s Biography. A charismatic man, with abundant literary gifts, including polemics and oratory, absolutely committed to revolution. His inconsistencies prove the point. The world also likes cruel men who are less cruel than other men. I think I have to disagree with the other reviewers who accuse Robert Service of being non-partial, or biased against Trotsky. After reading this account, it's with a bittersweet awareness that his talents were directed a to misguided experiment. Even as we approach the 20th anniversary of the demise of the Soviet Union, it's legacy is still hotly debated. March 9, 2019...conflicting social and political forces. Probably the best biography of Trotsky available, but not for the timid or the merely curious; those who do not want to know every available detail of Trotsky's life, but only an overview, best look elsewhere. I continue to be fascinated by the Bolshevik Revolution, because in its success there are many lessons. This book is very thick – running to 600 pages – but is very thin when it comes to an honest political examination and analysis of the ideas of Leon Trotsky, the subject of Service’s … Again, as with Lenin and Stalin, Service clearly points out how Trotsky was never the idealised socialist, but an architect of state terror and other aspects easily condemned in hindsight. That means: If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour. Review: Trotsky, a Biography by Robert Service. He is a professor of Russian history at the University of Oxford and a Fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. The romanticized vision of Trotsky's leadership of the soviets is revealed to be no better, and possibly worse, than Stalin, due to similar governing methods of terror and totalitarianism. Was there ever a moment when the Russian experiment with full market socialism was not on the track to an oppressive & murderous outcome? What emerges is a picture of a selfish man who really didn't know better even when things were turning against him in the battle of succession after Lenin's death. (Should preface this by saying that I'm not a Trotskyist, Leninist, Stalinist, or Communist of any brand whatsoever.). Service has much appreciation for Trotsky’s virtues, however. I feel like there could be a better biography out there, but will take this over the lame-o apologias that have preceded it. In Stalin's biography, there is many photos, short chapter, it is reading like a novel. Leon Trotsky has long sidestepped the sort of scrutiny and criticism meted out to Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin for their roles in the establishment of totalitarianism in the Soviet Union. I had previously read Service's biography of Lenin, and I'm coming to really enjoy his writing style. Juliet Johnson is associate professor of political science at McGill University. 351 King Street East, Suite 1600, Toronto, ON Canada, M5A 0N1, Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks, var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o? Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, Published Here's what you need to know about Trotsky: Service closes his trilogy with another captivating portrait. Trotsky has been a somewhat hero of the Russian revolution for the Western intellectuals, who saw him as the moral opposition to Stalin. Robert John Service FBA (born 29 October 1947) is a British historian, academic, and author who has written extensively on the history of the Soviet Union, particularly the era from the October Revolution to Stalin's death. To purchase it in pamphlet form, click here. The author, Robert Service, does a fine job of giving the reader a firm grasp of the life of Trotsky and Service achieves this without bias and without overloading the reader with unnecessary detail. In the end, though, the great contribution of Service's trilogy of biographies is to further demonstrate that individual leaders can indeed change the course of history. This has occurred for a variety of reasons, including his break with Stalin, his exhaustive writings that critiqued Stalin, and his assassination (which made him a martyr), most likely ordered by Stalin. Service's biography is replete with curiously mean-spirited commentary on Trotsky's relationships with his parents, wives and children. The chapters are similarly sized, each offering a detailed chunk of Trotsky's life , without being bogged down with minutia, yet still offering more than enough information to satisfy the reader. 74 reviews Robert Service completes his masterful trilogy on the founding figures of the Soviet Union in an eagerly anticipated, authoritative biography of Leon Trotsky. The talented yet deeply paranoid and bloodthirsty Stalin built the totalitarian Soviet empire as a personal fiefdom. Click here to subscribe. He was an individualist who advocated collectivism. An even-handed review of the complex and contradictory character of Trotsky. by Belknap. Many politicians, journalist and other was trotskyst when they were young. He was until 2013 a professor of Russian history at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford, and a senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.He is best … I think I have to disagree with the other reviewers who accuse Robert Service of being non-partial, or biased against Trotsky. “ In this astonishingly comprehensive book—Robert Service has trawled almost every archive on the planet that has any reference to Trotsky—we get a clear picture of Trotsky’s political development, his part in the 1917 revolution, his differences with Lenin, his break with Stalin and, finally, the years of exile and agitation in which he attracted a ragbag of bizarre followers and made the mistake of professing … Service vividly describes Trotsky's risky escapes from Siberian exile and his daring as a military leader during the Russian Civil War. He was arrogant, did not suffer fools gladly, had no real friends and viewed historical events through narrow ideological lenses. Robert Service documents who he was personally and politically through this new scholarly work. 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Robert Service is a Fellow of the British Academy and of St Antony's College, Oxford. Here is a great and highly readable, extremely opinionated account of the life of one of the most venerated communist heroes of the twentieth century. While it is obvious Robert Service does not care for either Trotsky's position or Leon as a man, it is also obvious that his knowledge into the inner workings and mechanics of the early communist movement in Russia/USSR is quite detailed. Kick back with the Daily Universal Crossword. He... Leon Trotsky’s Struggle Against Stalinism. (I have read them both.) Trotsky was vain, but at the same time lacked self-conscious of his actions. It feels like every meeting he ever went to is described in detail, while the two years he spent leading the Red Army during the wars after the Revolution (despite having no military experience) go by too quickly. Professional revolutionary at work: Trotsky reads international communist papers while in Turkey . A Soviet Union under Trotsky would thus probably have been spared the Stalinist cult of personality and the Great Terror. Service shows how it was/is out of proportion to his qualities as a person and as a political leader. An exhaustive (you can tell my how long it has taken me to finish it), dense and illuminating biography of Leon Trotsky. Switch gears. The strength of the book lay in its focus on details in Trotsky's opinions and especially in relation to raging Soviet debates. Yet Trotsky, unlike Stalin, did not seek supreme power and much preferred collective party leadership (Service even cites this as a key reason for his defeat at Stalin's hands). He not only led very successfully the October Revolution but also the Red Army to victory in the Civil War as the Commissar of Foreign Affairs. Trotsky is a towering figure in almost all (non-Soviet) histories of the October Revolution, including his own (though in Red October the late Robert Daniels argued that he was a brilliant rationaliser of events whose post factum claims to have planned everything in advance should be taken with a grain of salt). There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Robert Service is a British academic and historian of modern Russia and the Soviet Union. Service even takes a swing at the widespread belief that Trotsky had a prescient understanding of interwar politics, pointing out that Trotsky always and incorrectly saw a popular European communist revolution coming right around the corner. Read this after watching Hitchens and him debate at some stuffy Hoover Institute roundtable. While Lenin's and Stalin's dramatic roles in Russian and Soviet history are well known, Trotsky is perhaps most famous in popular culture for meeting an untimely death by ice axe in Mexico in 1940. But it tells the Old Man's story well, painting him as a brilliant, self-centred, erudite, historic yet ultimately self-destructive global political force. Service closes his trilogy with another captivating portrait. But the method is always the same, and when you have the key, it is easy to win. “This book's purpose,” Service announces at the start, “is to dig up the buried life” (p. 4). Trotsky was instrumental in the creation of the secret police services during the Red Terror, which would later claim a higher body count than the Nazi SS (and also killed more communists than Hitler). Still, for all the talk of Trotsky's writings, I still couldn't tell you what a "Trotskyist" is, except maybe that they are an admirer of Trotsky. Unbiased history and biography of the Bolsheviks is a relatively recent phenomenon; prior to 1991, a combination of lack of primary materials and philo-Communism among Western historians meant very few objective books were published. A ‘dis-Service’ to Leon Trotsky. Canadian readers will especially appreciate Service's recounting of Trotsky's detention in Halifax while en route to Russia in April, 1917, at a time when Trotsky desperately wanted to return home to take part in the evolving revolution. Despite his gifts and unquestionable dedication to the cause, there was little in the man to admire. Leon Trotsky checks both boxes. We’d love your help. … Trotsky: A Biography By Robert Service Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009 600 pages . When it doesn't have one it makes one. This biography of Trotsky is part of a trilogy, the other two being biographies of Lenin & Stalin. Rather than being … For a book with a reputation of being overly biased and hateful against Trotsky, this books wasn't very biased and hateful against Trotsky. I also like how many of the reviews from the left claim he's a horrible anti-communist and reviews from the right call him a communist sympathizer. When it doesn't have one it makes one. Yet Trotsky's first wife, Alexandra, a revolutionary herself, supported his decision, and Trotsky maintained regular contact with her and his two daughters, Nina and Zina, afterward. Give your brain a workout and do today’s Daily Cryptic Crossword. But perhaps the biggest reason he has escaped comparatively unscathed is that for those on the far left. I have read Stalin by the same author and saw his book chat with Brian Lamb on C-Span Book TV. Even more so than Lenin, Trotsky's connection to 'the source' seems to have been idiosyncratic, to say the least. Thank you for your patience. He was brilliant, an outstanding writer and polemicist, decisive, and personally brave. He rightly argues that a Soviet Union under Trotsky would still have been an authoritarian socialist state - Trotsky made no bones about his belief that the party should act decisively to build communism in the Soviet Union regardless of the consequences. October 14, 2009...Trotsky, the subject of Service’ s tome. (See also “Leon Trotsky and the Post-Soviet School of Historical Falsification”) €€€Trotsky: A Biography Robert Service Harvard University Press Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2009 The Specter of Leon Trotsky €€€In 1955 James Burnham, the … Just maybe this shows he is doing a good job of providing all the necessary complexities and nuances for such interesting historical figures. Yet Service then blames Trotsky for Zina's suicide in 1933, claiming that Trotsky had mishandled her schizophrenia and, as a result, "Zina had gone to her death when a little dosing of paternal consideration might have made all the difference." Free delivery on qualified orders. Trotsky is, I think, an innately fascinating historical figure. The reality is very different, as this masterful and compelling biography … I had previously read Service's biography of Lenin, and I'm coming to really enjoy his writing style. Which despite the context of two decades of aristocratic led war and conflict in Russia is a very dangerous thing to excuse or advocate. A “Dis-Service” to Leon Trotsky – Review of Robert Service’s Biography This book is very thick – running to 600 pages – but is very thin when it comes to an honest political examination and analysis of the ideas of Leon Trotsky, the subject of Service’’s tome.

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