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We All Want to Change the World: The Dramatic Life of Leon Trotsky

Robert Fulford - National Post
go to original
February 10, 2016



Leon Trotsky in Mexico City, 1940 (Associated Press)

The Great Prince Died: A Novel about the Assassination of Trotsky
by Bernard Wolfe
Check it out on Amazon.com

Those who loved Leon Trotsky and those who hated him could agree that his life was one of the great dramas of modern history. A small-town boy from Ukraine, he rose through the ranks of revolution and stood next to Lenin as they brought down the tsar’s empire in 1917. He then commanded the 3-million-man Red Army that won the civil war.

A self-taught intellectual, he was also a supremely talented manager. But after Lenin’s death, Stalin pushed him aside and by 1930, Trotsky was powerless. He was exiled, wandering the earth in search of refuge while issuing a stream of articles assailing Stalin as a vicious tyrant. He died at age 60 in Mexico City, he was assassinated by a team sent by Stalin.

No one else in the 20th century rose that high only to fall that low. The belief in his life as an epic of modern politics is the reason the University of Chicago Press has recently reprinted a little-known American book from 1959, The Great Prince Died: A Novel About the Assassination of Trotsky, by Bernard Wolfe. University presses rarely get behind novels but the Wolfe book richly deserves this chance at a new audience.

Like a good historical novelist, Wolfe inserted his own intuitions in the spaces between the known facts. The result is so well crafted that readers can follow the plot with excitement, even though they know at the start how it ends.

Read the rest at National Post

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