A Revolutionary's Life
Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300137248, 225pp.
Publication Date: October 15, 2011
Here, Trotsky emerges as a brilliant and brilliantly flawed man. Rubenstein offers us a Trotsky who is mentally acute and impatient with others, one of the finest students of contemporary politics who refused to engage in the nitty-gritty of party organization in the 1920s, when Stalin was maneuvering, inexorably, toward Trotsky's own political oblivion.
As Joshua Rubenstein writes in his preface, Leon Trotsky haunts our historical memory. A preeminent revolutionary figure and a masterful writer, Trotsky led an upheaval that helped to define the contours of twentieth-century politics. In this lucid and judicious evocation of Trotsky's life, Joshua Rubenstein gives us an interpretation for the twenty-first century.
"Joshua Rubenstein has produced a steadily intelligent, insightful biography of one the last century''s most alluring intellectual-politicians, a man of astonishing brilliance and no less astonishing rigidities."—Steven J. Zipperstein, author of Imagining Russian Jewry: Memory, History, Identity
-Steven J. Zipperstein
"As much a myth and a legend as a man, Leon Trotsky is an individual of deep contradictions... Fast-paced and engaging, Rubenstein’s brief biography provides a solid introduction to the period and a detailed examination of a man much studied but little understood."—Publishers Weekly
"An accessible scholarly account of a man whose life spanned continents, whose charisma was legendary and whose ideas sparked a revolution and its backlash."—Kirkus Reviews
"An exemplary biography... Rubenstein depicts Trotsky as a tragic hero, a complex man whose brilliance and fallibility were inseparable."—Judith Maas, Jewish Advocate
"Joshua Rubenstein’s succinct account of Leon Trotsky’s life rescues the Russian radical from a remoteness, positioning him at a useful distance for contemporary readers."—Harvey Blume, ArtsFuse
"In this new, concise biography, Rubenstein offers a more balanced view of Trotsky....There are many reasons to commend this work — among them, Rubenstein’s depoliticization of its subject and the book’s succinctness and readability."—Peter Ephross, The Forward