LEON TROTSKY (7 November 1879 - 21 August 1940), born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, was a Marxist revolutionary, theorist, and Soviet politician.
Initially supporting the Menshevik Internationalists faction within the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, he joined the Bolsheviks just before the 1917 October Revolution and became a leader within the Communist Party. He rose to become one of the seven members of the first Politburo, founded in 1917, to manage the Bolshevik Revolution. During the early days of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) and the Soviet Union, he served first as People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army, with the title of People’s Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs. He became a major figure in the Bolshevik victory in the Russian Civil War (1918-1923).
In 1927 Trotsky was removed from power, expelled from the Communist Party, exiled to Alma-Ata, and exiled from the Soviet Union in 1929. He continued to oppose the Stalinist bureaucracy in the Soviet Union from exile, but was assassinated on 20 August 1940 by Ramón Mercader, a secret agent, and died the following day, aged 60.
ROSE STRUNSKY LORWIN (1884-1963), born Rose Strunsky, was a Jewish Russian-American translator and socialist based in New York City. Born to a Jewish Russian family in what is now Belarus and was part of the Russian Empire, her family emigrated to the U.S. in 1886, settling in New York City. The family later moved to San Francisco, where she attended Stanford University and became active in socialist politics and San Francisco’s literary scene. She married Lewis Lorwin in 1920, and the couple had two children and lived in New York. Throughout her life, Strunsky worked as a translator. Her translations into English include Maxim Gorky’s The Confession, the journal of Leo Tolstoy and Leon Trotsky’s Literature and Revolution. She died in New York in 1963.
Translated and edited with an introduction by Robert Service