--Leon Trotsky, from History of the Russian Revolution
Regarded by many as among the most powerful works of history ever written, this book offers an unparalleled account of one of the most pivotal and hotly debated events in world history. This book reveals, from the perspective of one of its central actors, the Russian Revolution’s profoundly democratic, emancipatory character.
Originally published in three parts, Trotsky’s masterpiece is collected here in a single volume. It serves as the most vital and inspiring record of the Russian Revolution to date.
“[T]he greatest history of an event that I know.”
--C. L. R. James
“In Trotsky all passions were aroused, but his thought remained calm and his vision clear.... His involvement in the struggle, far from blurring his sight, sharpens it.... The History is his crowning work, both in scale and power and as the fullest expression of his ideas on revolution. As an account of a revolution, given by one of its chief actors, it stands unique in world literature.”
My Life recounts the rise of the revolutionary wave in Russia in 1905 and 1917, the devastating effects of World War I, and the degeneration of the Russian Revolution from Lenin's internationalist course to Stalin's increasingly counterrevolutionary policies. Trotsky's exile placed him beyond the pale of both the official Communist party and the rest of the political world; yet in this fascinating historical document, he remains true to a philosophy of permanent world revolution, offering a highly informed perspective on the struggle toward a socialist future.
The effects of the October Revolution led to the establishment of a nationalized planned economy, demonstrating the practicality of socialism for the first time. By the 1930s, however, the Soviet workers' democracy had crumbled into a state of bureaucratic decay that ultimately gave rise to an infamous totalitarian regime. Trotsky employs facts, figures, and statistics to show how Stalinist policies rejected the enormous productive potential of the nationalized planned economy in favor of a wasteful and corrupt bureaucratic system.
Six decades after the publication of this classic, the shattering of Stalinist regimes in Russia and Eastern Europe has confused and demoralized countless political activists. The Revolution Betrayed offers readers of every political persuasion an insider's view of what went wrong.
This book is a classic work of literary criticism from the Marxist standpoint. By discussing the various literary trends that were around in Russia between the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, Trotsky analyses the concrete forces in society, both progressive as well as reactionary, that helped shape the consciousness of writers at the time.
In the book, Trotsky also explains that since the dawn of civilisation art had always borne the stamp of the ruling class and was primarily a vehicle that expressed its tastes and its sensibilities.
“It is difficult to predict the extent of self-government which the man of the future may reach or the heights to which he may carry his technique. Social construction and psycho-physical self-education will become two aspects of one and the same process. All the arts—literature, drama, painting, music and architecture will lend this process beautiful form. More correctly, the shell in which the cultural construction and self-education of Communist man will be enclosed, will develop all the vital elements of contemporary art to the highest point. Man will become immeasurably stronger, wiser and subtler; his body will become more harmonized, his movements more rhythmic, his voice more musical. The forms of life will become dynamically dramatic. The average human type will rise to the heights of an Aristotle, a Goethe, or a Marx. And above this ridge new peaks will rise.”—Leon Trotsky
The History of the Russian Revolutionto Brest-Litovsk was written immediately after the events it describes, when Trotsky was attending the negotiations that extracted Russia from the First World War; The Lessons of October, an answer to his opponents in 1924, matches Lenin in power of analysis; and Stalin Falsifies History, written in 1927, presents the beginning of the distorting process by which Stalin secured his position, and defeated a range of attitudes, many more benign than his own, towards the future of the Revolution. This is a fascinating reissue that will be of value to students with an interest in early-twentieth century Russia, the Russian Revolution and the writings of Trotsky more generally.
Trotsky’s intention is "far away from any thought of defending terrorism in general". Rather, he seeks to promote an historical justification for the Revolution, by demonstrating that history has set up the ‘revolutionary violence of the progressive class’ against the ‘conservative violence of the outworn classes’. The argument is developed in response to the influential Marxist intellectual Karl Kautsky, who refuted Trotsky’s ‘militarisation of labour’ and Lenin’s wholesale rejection of a ‘bloodless revolution’. The introduction, written for the second edition of 1935, presents Trotsky’s reflections on the similarities between Kautsky and the burgeoning British Labour Party: specifically, it recapitulates Trotsky’s belief that revolution conducted according to the norms of Parliamentarianism is no revolution at all.
Including a sympathetic, but nonetheless astute, introduction to Trotsky’s argument by the translator, The Real Situation in Russia will prove to be of value to all students of twentieth-century Marxism, and in particular to those interested in the Russian Revolution – not only its origins and early development, but also, perhaps, the reasons for its ultimate failure.
Vladimir Lenin (speaking Russian) was the main theoretician and practical leader of the Bolsheviks. He was voted the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR.
Leon Trotsky was a Communist theorist, prolific writer, and leader in the 1917 Russian Revolution. Josef Stalin (speaking Russian) was the General Secretary of the Russian Communist Party and a key leader in World War II.