“This is one of the books I read when I was starting to move into historical study. It’s a wonderful memoir of a childhood and young adulthood. Trotsky is a wonderful writer. I think he is one of the two great political writers of the 20th century, the other being Winston Churchill. But, as you move through the book, you get a very strong sense of a man who is justifying his own politics and his own career choices. He gets less and less attractive and less and less plausible as the first half of the book gives way to the second half. In that sense it was a very influential work for me because I started thinking that he was a very attractive man and I ended up thinking that he was a very unattractive politician whose self-justification for the terror and the dictatorship and the ultra centralist discipline that he imposed didn’t have much merit.” Read more...
The best books on Totalitarian Russia