[Marxism] Deutscher trilogy reviewed

Octob1917 at aol.com Octob1917 at aol.com
Fri Nov 26 12:21:05 MST 2004


Currently in the middle of the second volume of Deutscher's trilogy - The 
Prophet Armed - I can vouch for your enthusiasm with regard to the author's 
respect for and handling of his subject. Having previously read Trotsky's 
autobiography - My Life - and his critique of the Soviet Union under Stalin - The 
Revolution Betrayed - I'd come to view Trotsky, regardless of his attributes, as a 
man whose life had been shaped by bitterness over his loss of influence and 
power to his arch-nemesis, Stalin. 

Well, Deutscher's work certainly puts the record straight on that, revealing 
the true genius of this great revolutionary and the scope of his role in 
changing the course of history. Even more than Lenin, Trotsky inspired and educated 
the new Russian proletariat, first in 1905, then in 1917. Deutscher succeeds 
in capturing the chaos and excitement of those days, in much the same way as 
John Reed does in his Ten Days That Shook The World.

Interestingly, the book I read before picking up Deutscher's work was Bertram 
D. Wolfe's 'Three Who Made A Revolution.' Though also worth a read by anyone 
interested in the history of the Russian Revolution and the major figures 
involved, the writing just doesn't come close to the verve and fire of 
Deutscher's. Also, Wolfe laces the story with his own anti-Communist bias throughout, 
thereby reducing the narrative to a kind of retrospective poison pen letter.



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