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Leon Trotsky (1879–1940)

Author of History of the Russian Revolution

498+ Works 6,218 Members 59 Reviews 14 Favorited

About the Author

Leon Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronshteyn on November 7, 1879 in Yanovka, Ukraine. As a teenager, he became involved in underground activities and was soon arrested, jailed and exiled to Siberia where he joined the Social Democratic Party. He escaped from exile in Siberia by using the name of show more a jailer called Trotsky on a false passport. During World War I, he lived in Switzerland, France, England, 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 Vladimir 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. He was then made war commissar and in this capacity, built up the Red Army which prevailed against the White Russian forces in the civil war. Antagonism developed between him and Joseph Stalin during the Civil War of 1918-1920. When Lenin fell ill and died, Stalin became the new leader and Trotsky was thrown out of the party in 1927. Trotsky fled across Siberia to Norway, France, and finally settled in Mexico in 1936. He began working on the biography of Stalin. He was able to complete 7 of the 12 chapters before an assassin, acting on Stalin's orders, stabbed Trotsky with an ice pick. He died on August 21, 1940. The construction of the remaining five chapters was accomplished by the translator Charles Malamuth, from notes, worksheets, and fragments. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ggbain-35130


Works by Leon Trotsky

The Revolution Betrayed (1936) 491 copies
My Life (1930) 417 copies
Literature and Revolution (1960) 240 copies
Terrorism and Communism (1920) 231 copies
The Permanent Revolution (1929) — Author — 147 copies
1905 (1969) 129 copies
Stalin (1941) 124 copies
Their Morals and Ours (1942) 118 copies
Lenin (1925) 94 copies
The Young Lenin (1972) 69 copies
Lessons of October (1971) 61 copies
Leon Trotsky on France (1936) 51 copies
Women and the Family (1973) 45 copies
Marxism and Terrorism (1995) 40 copies
Military Writings (1969) 32 copies
The Essential Trotsky (1963) 26 copies
Leon Trotsky on China (1976) 25 copies
I crimini di Stalin (1973) 22 copies
On the Jewish Question (1970) 21 copies
Whither England? (1978) 20 copies
Leon Trotsky Speaks (1972) 20 copies
Stalin Vol. 1 : Rise of a Revolutionary (1969) — Author — 18 copies
Stalin Vol. 2 : The Revolutionary in Power (1968) — Author — 17 copies
Leon Trotsky on Britain (1972) 17 copies
On the Trade Unions (1969) 14 copies
The Serge-Trotsky Papers (1994) 13 copies
Political profiles (1972) 6 copies
Cours nouveau (1923) (1924) 6 copies
Mis peripecias en España (2007) 5 copies
In Defense of October (1962) 5 copies
Karl Marx (2002) 5 copies
Stalin's Gangsters (1977) 4 copies
Results and Prospects (2019) 3 copies
O Novo Curso 2 copies
Correspondance 1933-1938 (1980) — Author — 2 copies
The Only Road (1933) 2 copies
Övergångsprogrammet (1977) 2 copies
El fascismo 2 copies
Bilan et perspectives (1974) 2 copies
Oeuvres (1978) 2 copies
Die Balkankriege 1912-13. (1996) 2 copies
A Revolução de Outubro (2007) 2 copies
Kampen mot Stalin - 1923 (1982) 2 copies
Textes (1984) 2 copies
Culture and Socialism (1963) 2 copies
Revolutionen forrådt (2021) 2 copies
Marxism in our time (1994) 2 copies
Germany, 1931-1932 (1970) 2 copies
Kirov Assassination (1935) 2 copies
Kampen mot Hitler (1983) 2 copies
Diary in exile, 1935 (1963) 2 copies
LÉNINE 1 copy
Minha vida 1 copy
La vita è bella (2015) 1 copy
Octubre 1 copy
Europa im Krieg (1996) 1 copy
SOBRE ARTE Y CULTURA. (1971) 1 copy
LIÇOES DE OUTUBRO (1900) 1 copy
Carlo Marx 1 copy
Jean Jaurès 1 copy
Februarrevolution (1982) 1 copy
Moja zhizn (2021) 1 copy
My Life, book 2 of 2 (2001) 1 copy
My Life, book 1 of 2 (2000) 1 copy
Em defesa do marxismo (2011) 1 copy
Oeuvres (1979) 1 copy
En España (1975) 1 copy
Oeuvres 9 1 copy
Marx : Pages choisies (2019) 1 copy
Whither Europe? (1950) 1 copy
Můj život (2010) 1 copy
Můj život 1 copy
Tuda i obratno (2017) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Communist Manifesto (1848) — Introduction, some editions — 15,138 copies
The Iron Heel (1907) — Introduction, some editions — 1,485 copies
Critical Theory Since Plato (1971) — Contributor, some editions — 400 copies
Rosa Luxemburg Speaks (1970) — Contributor — 121 copies
The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution (1951) — Introduction, some editions — 86 copies
The Penguin Book of Twentieth-Century Protest (1998) — Contributor — 31 copies


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Common Knowledge



I was very positively surprised by this book. Considering the author I was expecting the book to be more infused with political statements and philosophical views of the world and revolution. Surprisingly it was not, quite to the contrary.

Now I wont go into the character of Trotsky himself. It is obvious this was very educated man, highly eloquent (in what looks to be productive not just demagogue way) with interest in many areas and (as far as I can see) solid grasp on many subjects and as such, it is obvious why he was placed high in Bolshevik's ranks. Also it is visible that he was of that kind of man who know they are smartest in the room (or at least one of the smartest) and this would drive crazy anyone else in that same room. I also have a feeling that Trotsky would have had a very unrealistic plans for the revolution itself that would bring him into more direct conflict with the rest of the party. All of this would surely explain his exile and reason why he was not executed immediatelly - he left a strong mark post-revolution and especially strong mark on the military,

Again I am not familiar with all of the above developments so cannot fully atest to Trotsky and his goals, I can only give my impressions from this book.

Book shows clearly that Trotsky was a very practical man when it comes to warfare. This is visible in his constant comments that military work (as is case with every practical human endeavor) cannot be imbued with political dogma or philosophical views. I especially liked his view of military work, not as a science but as an art (or better yet, synthesis of various other sciences and arts). For him, true military commander is someone who knows a lot, from social sciences, physics and other natural sciences, with addition of military teachings of course. And I have to agree with it, ideally this would be the best case (but then again this would be great in case of any profession). In this entire book Trotsky constantly warns about dangers of presenting military works as result of some philosophical and dogmatic way of reasoning and thinking (and he clealry considers Marxism as one of those philosophies). For him military works are art, and concepts ruling it exist since first organized form of war took place under the sun. What is required is distilling the knowledge for the new generations (which trotsky very smartly describes as generations that wont be led by fires of the Revolution, they wont know much about it except from stories or books, so they need the acquired knowledge of the generations that fought in the Revolution) in order to ensure further development of military - both technologically and in view of history/application of war related activities.

This is also why trotsky saw no issues with using the acquired knowledge of old Imperial Army officers, because he was very much aware that without that knowledge currently existing revolutionary army (mostly partisan/guerilla in nature) cannot progress, evolve into the potent military force (capable of any type of assignments) and finally stand against the enemy states (whose armies are seen by Trotsky as professional and very experienced no matter the political forces running them). As history shows this merger of old, what might be called standard military knowledge, and new revolutionary approach to war would enable the Soviet Army to win WW2.

Again, very interesting book, surprisingly clear headed and practical when it comes to warfare. As a matter of fact Trotsky's comments how mixing (or as he says muddling) military works with philosophical and political dogma will always end up in disaster, sound very true even today.

Highly recommended.
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Zare | Mar 5, 2024 |
Instruction manual on how to overthrow the ruling class. Would recommend.
Nealmaro | Jul 28, 2023 |
A few bits were eye-opening and definitely applicable to the political climate today. Especially the part mentioning weak parties putting forth "lesser evil" candidates. Another putting forth the idea that the bourgeoisie (the 1%) will try to capture as much holdings as possible while capitalism collapses turning the middle class (the petty bourgeoisie) against the proletariat (the working class and the poor) to achieve this. More relevant passages such as: We may set it down as a historical law: fascism was able to conquer only in those countries where the conservative labor parties prevented the proletariat from utilizing the revolutionary situation and seizing power. Seems a parallel to neoliberal suppression of progressives to me. It was a quick read and informational. As a political pamphlet it does its job but it reads like one. I could recommend this if you like politics especially something that may have a few eerie parallels to the current situation in it.… (more)
1 vote
Ranjr | 1 other review | Jul 13, 2023 |
‘You know, with Kautsky, the more I learn about that guy, the more I don’t care for him’ - Norm MacDonald

I’m going to attempt the possible and defend Trotsky in the face of a seemingly insuperable wave of MLM sycophants; an admittedly difficult task to be sure.

Fine, Mao supersedes Trotsky in his understanding of the peasantry, Trotsky is a tad too abstract and not as concrete as the venerable Chairman, he overestimated the upper crust of the working class yadda yadda. But here we have a cutthroat and effective evaluation of lived Soviet reality. Surely someone can’t read this and come away detesting the man? The militarisation of labour goes a hell of a long way in deflating the aspirations of some of the most enervating so-called ‘Marxists’ of my generation who see themselves becoming poets as soon as the class struggle has progressed somewhat, even the notion of egalitarianism (contra the utopian notion of egalitarianism, where the necessity of momentarily maintaining wages, rewarding impressive labour etc. is construed as some immoral sin) is dispelled, a notion all too often misunderstood. As well as this, Trotsky demonstrates the necessity of the State in a way I have found unmatched by other Marxist writers within the tradition — I know it’s a cliche at this point but I do really think that anarchists dwell in some idealistic stupor.

That being said.... do any of these writings carry any weight anymore? Must we solely speak in the language handed down to us by neoliberalism? As I grow older I feel like this is most likely the case. However, this work does stand as a Romantic, passionate haranguing by a man gripped by the most intense and critical conditions imaginable, and he was truly fighting for something novel and in my eyes very important. Perhaps all of these writings surrounding the Internationals are beyond antiquarian at this point of time, but maybe there is something to be salvaged within these silverfish-addled tomes that could cut through the current miasma of our lost futures. Something concerning a steel will, an organised strength, something that may not be a cure-all but will alleviate some ails, some pretty bloody big ones at that.

Even if all of this discourse amounts to nil at least when you’ve read this you’ll no longer need to stare at a closeted liberal with a glazed over expression while swallowing their tepid notions of revolution. Trotsky’s notion of Revolution and violence may belong to a bygone era, but let us not allow these snivelling knaves to diminish and denigrate what once was. Oh and just to mention, no other Marxist has been this unabashedly sincere and open on the sheer horror and terror that civil war, class struggle and the road to socialism involve: Trotsky gives it to you like a pear cider made out of 100% pears.
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theoaustin | May 19, 2023 |



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Russell Block Editor, Introduction
Ernest Mandel Introduction, Composer
Bev Scott Editor
Karl Marx Contributor
Max Shachtman Translator, Contributor
The Militant Contributor
James Kilby Introduction
Fred Zeller Contributor
Livio Maitan Translator
Max Eastman Translator
Alan Woods Introduction, Editor
Ahmed Shawki Introduction
Tony Cliff Introduction
Rob Sewell Introduction, Background
Gabriela Liszt Translator
Joseph Hansen Introduction
Alfred Rosmer Introduction
Rose Strunsky Translator
Slavoj iek Introduction
José Camo Cover designer
Charles Malamuth Translator
James Burnham Contributor
Georg Salter Cover designer
Alexandra Ramm Translator
Les Evans Introduction
Elena Zarudnaya Translator
Lincoln Steffens Introduction
Shu-tse Peng Introduction
桑野 隆 Translator


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½ 3.6

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