Trotsky: A Graphic Biography

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Overview

Trotsky was a hero to some, a ruthless demon to others. To Stalin, he was such a threat that he warranted murder by pickax. This polarizing figure set up a world conflict that lasted through the twentieth century, and in Trotsky: A Graphic Biography, the renowned comic artist Rick Geary uses his distinct style to depict the stark reality of the man and his times. Trotsky’s life becomes a guide to the creation of the Soviet Union, the horrors of World War I, and the establishment of international communism as he, ...

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Overview

Trotsky was a hero to some, a ruthless demon to others. To Stalin, he was such a threat that he warranted murder by pickax. This polarizing figure set up a world conflict that lasted through the twentieth century, and in Trotsky: A Graphic Biography, the renowned comic artist Rick Geary uses his distinct style to depict the stark reality of the man and his times. Trotsky’s life becomes a guide to the creation of the Soviet Union, the horrors of World War I, and the establishment of international communism as he, Lenin, and their fellow Bolsheviks rise from persecution and a life underground to the height of political power. Ranging from his boyhood in the Ukraine to his fallout with Stalin and his moonlight romance with Frida Kahlo, Trotsky is a stunning look at one of the twentieth century’s most important thinkers and the far-reaching political trends that he launched.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A concise and powerful overview of one of the twentieth century’s most influential people.” —Michael Lorah, Newsarama.com

 

“Rick Geary deftly reclaims Trotsky for the middle class . . . Geary doesn't shy away from quoting Trotsky’s writings that were pro-revolutionary and pro-violent uprising, but the book projects a sympathetic view of its starring character.” —Suzi Steffen, Eugene Weekly

 

“Geary’s familiar cartoonlike drawing style and factual presentation make this title an accessible and concise introduction to Trotsky’s life.” —Matthew L. Moffett, School Library Journal

 

“A swift-moving, generally accurate view of Trotsky’s life, guaranteed to send orthodox Stalinists into fits.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

“An ace at history in comics form, Geary turns here to the Russian revolution as seen through the life of Leon Trotsky.” —Steve Weinberg, Booklist

 

Children's Literature - Lauri Berkenkamp
This remarkable graphic biography of Lev Davidovitch Bronstein, known to the world as Leon Trotsky, covers the personal and political life of one of the instrumental leaders of the Russian revolution and twentieth century's most important thinkers. The book follows Trotsky's early childhood and political awakening as a revolutionary, as he experiences the corrupt and deplorable regime of the Tsar. It follows Trotsky's exiles, both internal and external, and shows his rise, short career, and subsequent permanent fall from political grace under the new government led first by Lenin, then co-opted by Josef Stalin. Geary's impeccable eye for historical accuracy, his ability to explain the complicated political and social concepts of the various factions involved in the revolution, as well as the geopolitical issues raging throughout Europe and Asia, and the ease with which he encapsulates all of this into precise and concise panels, make this book an ideal introduction to Trotky's life and beliefs. Younger readers will find this book quite difficult, but high school and young adult readers will appreciate this excellent resource. Reviewer: Lauri Berkenkamp
Publishers Weekly

A principle architect and hero of the Russian Revolution, then a pariah and exile under Stalin, Leon Trotsky, born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, is a perpetually controversial figure, which makes the tameness of this graphic biography so disconcerting. Geary does a good job treating a touchy subject objectively, but that objectivity is detrimental in the long run: there is no context or commentary, no point of view, and while none of the facts and philosophies behind the Russian revolution are hidden, it is all relatively passionless. The text is basically a verbose time line, reinforcing the feeling that this book is a sort of supplement for some unseen history textbook. The primary customers for this book will be Geary's fans, and they won't be disappointed. Best known for his ongoing series of graphic novels looking at famed murders, here he recreates Russia of the period in his own distinct style. It's instantly recognizable while never distracting; detailed, but not cluttered. Occasional flights of fancy, like his portraits of Trotsky done in the style of negative and positive propaganda posters, are wonderful, and the book suffers from not having more like them. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up–Geary leads readers chronologically through Trotsky’s exile by Tsarist Russia, his instrumental part in the Bolshevik Revolution, and his varied roles in foreign affairs during World War I and as leader of the Red Army during a civil war. A key theme is Trotsky’s back and forth and back again relationship with Lenin. Lenin’s death in 1924 left a void for power-hungry Stalin to seize control and eventually force Trotsky into political exile. He met his death by a Stalinist assassin. Geary’s familiar cartoonlike drawing style and factual presentation make this title an accessible and concise introduction to Trotsky’s life.–Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Illustrated life of Lev Davidovich Bronstein, aka Leon Trotsky (1879 -1940), "the brain behind the Russian Revolution."Lenin would have something to say about that bold claim, but there's no doubt that Trotsky provided intellectual guidance for the uprising and, briefly, the communist state that followed. The text and images are sometimes over-the-top even by graphic-novel standards; the angry kulaks and sinister, bomb-tossing anarchists could have come from a tsarist recruiting poster. Still, Geary (J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography, 2008, etc.) ably distills the events that occupied many hundreds of pages written by Marxist historian Isaac Deutscher and Trotsky himself, touching on such matters as the idea of permanent revolution and the impossibility of socialism in one country. Geary traces Trotsky's evolution from farm boy to bookish adolescent to revolutionary to Bolshevik strategist. He also provides a solid, if necessarily brief, account of the rivalry that developed between Trotsky, desirous of power, and Joseph Stalin, even more so, and the unhappy conclusion to which that rivalry eventually led. Why Lenin "did not promote Trotsky above any other comrade," however, remains a mystery. At least Trotsky, veteran of tsarist prisons and armored trains, got to dally with Frida Kahlo for a few happy moments before the end-but that end is plenty graphic, so to speak, and Geary does not shy from depicting it. A swift-moving, generally accurate view of Trotsky's life, guaranteed to send orthodox Stalinists into fits.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809095087
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/29/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 799,450
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.43 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Rick Geary is an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator. His most recent projects include J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography (H&W, 2008) and his continuing graphic series, A Treasury of Victorian Murder and A Treasury of XXth Century Murder.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another great one from Rick Geary

    I especially liked this biography by Rick Geary, because I didn't really know very much about Trotsky before i read it. I think that Geary does a great job with his historical rgaphic novels because he is opening history up to a very wide audience.

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    Posted July 31, 2009

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