Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary
  • Alternative view 1 of Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary
  • Alternative view 2 of Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary

Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary

by Bertrand M. Patenaude
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary, Stanford University lecturer Bertrand M. Patenaude tells the dramatic story of Leon Trotsky's final years in exile in Mexico. Shedding 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 become victims of the

…  See more details below

Overview

In Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary, Stanford University lecturer Bertrand M. Patenaude tells the dramatic story of Leon Trotsky's final years in exile in Mexico. Shedding 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 become victims of the Great Terror, Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary brilliantly illuminates the fateful and dramatic life of one of history’s most famous yet elusive figures.

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 extensive firsthand research, this groundbreaking biography examines Trotsky's remarkable life from the perspective of his last exile in Mexico.

Bertrand M. Patenaude masterfully 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 vividly 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.

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.

Gripping and tragic, Trotsky brilliantly illuminates the fateful and dramatic life of one of history's most captivating and important figures.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A captivating account. . . . Patenaude paints a vivid portrait of Trotsky, a flamboyant, Westernized intellectual. . . . This is a dramatic, event-filled portrait of a turbulent, half- forgotten era.”
Library Journal
“Fascinating. . . . A masterly account. . . . Patenaude applies his expert knowledge of early Soviet history in narrating the story of Leon Trotsky’s final years in exile in Mexico.”
Publishers Weekly
A captivating account of the final years of Leon Trotsky, Lenin's former right-hand man, who was outmaneuvered by Stalin and driven into exile in 1929. Historian Patenaude (The Big Show in Bololand), a lecturer at Stanford, concentrates on the period from 1937, when Trotsky arrived in Mexico, to 1940, when a Soviet agent plunged an ice pick into his skull. The year 1937 marked the height of Stalin's purge trials during which a parade of great revolutionary figures confessed to being fascist saboteurs working for Trotsky. All were executed along with their families, friends and thousands of other innocent citizens. Some Western leftists were disgusted, but many couldn't believe the nation they admired could tolerate such injustice. Trotsky set to work, pouring out writing and speeches and testifying at international hearings, which concluded that the trials were a sham. Patenaude paints a vivid portrait of Trotsky, a flamboyant, Westernized intellectual; his stormy relations with his equally flamboyant Mexican champion (and later enemy), artist Diego Rivera; his dealings with his own largely American supporters; and the relentless efforts of Stalin's GPU to kill him. This is a dramatic, event-filled portrait of a turbulent, half-forgotten era. 14 b&w illus. (Sept.)
The Financial Times
“Gripping. . . . Patenaude has created both a compelling biography of the revolutionary leader and a thrilling account of the violent world of international socialist politics in the 1930s.”
The Wall Street Journal
“Bertrand Patenaude tells a masterly story, of a brilliant, cornered man and, along the way, of a misguided century.”
Simon Sebag Montefiore
“Excellent, exciting. . . . Trotsky charts, with novelistic flair and in archival detail, the progress of the plot that culminated in Trotsky being killed with an ice axe in 1940.”
Christopher Hitchens
“This book deepens and enhances the sense of tragedy that always attends contemplation of ‘the Old Man’ and his last struggle.”
Ian Thomson
“An absorbing reconstruction of Trotsky’s last years in Mexico. . . . Patenaude’s hyrbrid history and detective story grips from start to finish. With rare narrative verve, he chronicles the last years of a revolutionary’s life, with its sexual jealousies, paranoia, and finally murder.”
Robert Service
“Well researched and vividly told.”
Misha Glenny
"This is an extraordinary, gripping piece of history that gets closer to Trotsky’s essential character than any of the vast tomes devoted to him in the past. Perhaps most extraordinary is the page-turning narrative drive which keeps the reader enthralled despite knowing how the story ends. Don’t miss it."
Ken Kalfus
"Bertrand Patenaude’s Trotsky is an epic character: fiery, vain, contentious, exacting, intellectually lively, ideologically blinded, seductive, even sexually aggressive—and a man keenly aware that the inherent tragedy behind human existence overshadows the petty mishaps of politics, assassination included."
Richard Overy
“A haunting and dramatic reconstruction of Trotsky’s life and death in exile. The detail is fascinating, almost voyeuristic.”
Dominic Sandbrook
“It is a tribute to Bertrand Patenaude’s narrative skill that although we always know how his book is going to end, it is none the less readable and utterly gripping. . . . The pace and tension are worthy of a Hollywood thriller.”
—Misha Glenny
“This is an extraordinary, gripping piece of history that gets closer to Trotsky’s essential character than any of the vast tomes devoted to him in the past. Perhaps most extraordinary is the page-turning narrative drive which keeps the reader enthralled despite knowing how the story ends. Don’t miss it.”
—Ken Kalfus
“Bertrand Patenaude’s Trotsky is an epic character: fiery, vain, contentious, exacting, intellectually lively, ideologically blinded, seductive, even sexually aggressive—and a man keenly aware that the inherent tragedy behind human existence overshadows the petty mishaps of politics, assassination included.”

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060820688
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/25/2009
Pages:
370
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)

What People are saying about this

Robert Service
“Well researched and vividly told.”
Ian Thomson
“An absorbing reconstruction of Trotsky’s last years in Mexico. . . . Patenaude’s hyrbrid history and detective story grips from start to finish. With rare narrative verve, he chronicles the last years of a revolutionary’s life, with its sexual jealousies, paranoia, and finally murder.”
Richard Overy
“A haunting and dramatic reconstruction of Trotsky’s life and death in exile. The detail is fascinating, almost voyeuristic.”
Ken Kalfus
“Bertrand Patenaude’s Trotsky is an epic character: fiery, vain, contentious, exacting, intellectually lively, ideologically blinded, seductive, even sexually aggressive—and a man keenly aware that the inherent tragedy behind human existence overshadows the petty mishaps of politics, assassination included.”
Simon Sebag Montefiore
“Excellent, exciting. . . . Trotsky charts, with novelistic flair and in archival detail, the progress of the plot that culminated in Trotsky being killed with an ice axe in 1940.”
Christopher Hitchens
“This book deepens and enhances the sense of tragedy that always attends contemplation of ‘the Old Man’ and his last struggle.”
Misha Glenny
“This is an extraordinary, gripping piece of history that gets closer to Trotsky’s essential character than any of the vast tomes devoted to him in the past. Perhaps most extraordinary is the page-turning narrative drive which keeps the reader enthralled despite knowing how the story ends. Don’t miss it.”

Read More

Meet the Author

Bertrand M. Patenaude is a lecturer at Stanford University, where he is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives. He is the author of The Big Show in Bololand, which won the Marshall Shulman Book Prize. He lives in Menlo Park, California.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >