Stalin's Nemesis : The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky Hardback
Leon Trotsky was the charismatic intellectual of the Russian Revolution, a brilliant writer and orator who was also an authoritarian organizer.
He might have succeeded Lenin and become the ruler of the Soviet Union.
But by the time the Second World War broke out he was in exile, living in Mexico in a villa borrowed from the great artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, guarded only by several naive young Americans in awe of the great theoretician.
The household was awash with emotional turmoil - tensions grew between Trotsky and Rivera, as questions arose over his relations with Frida Kahlo.
His wife was restless and jealous. Outside of the villa, Mexican communists tried to storm the house and kill the man they regarded as a traitor, the Trotskys' sons were being persecuted and killed in Europe, and in Moscow, Stalin personally ordered his secret police to kill his fiercest left-wing critic - at any cost.
By the summer of 1940, they had found a man who could penetrate the tight security around the house in far-away Mexico.
This title offers a brilliant reconstruction of one of the most infamous state crimes, and a panoramic view of Trotsky's incredible life. Here is all the squalor, glory, fanaticism and bloodshed of a deadly rivalry.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 352 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber
- Publication Date: 18/06/2009
- Category: Biography: historical, political & military
- ISBN: 9780571228751
- Paperback from £8.65
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Review by Opinionated
An excellent portait of "Old Man" Trotsky and his final days. Regardless of your politics its hard not to feel a great deal of sympathy for Trotsky - hounded remorselessly by the GPU, his entire family either captured, executed or driven to suicide - his world gets smaller and smaller until it consists almost exclusively of his Mexican household. Does he appreciate this shrinking of his world? Probably yes but he doesn't give up. Neither does he make things any easier for himself; In Mexico due to the grace and influence of Diego Rivera he not only quarrels with him, but starts an affair with Frida Kahloe which Rivera is almost certainly aware of. Friends and would be supporters are constantly alienated by his harsh criticism and intellectual rigour. At this distance Trotsky's faith in the establishment of a Fourth International seems hopelessly naive - but perhaps thats just because he doesn't see, as we see, the eventual assassin, Mercader, getting closer and closer to him. Paternaude has written an excellent book - the characters and their motives are well drawn, the narrative witty and pacy, with the foreboding of the inevitability of his assassination lurking just over the horizon. Truely a death foretold.The author also has the capacity to surprise - at this distance the relative strength of the American Communist movement which was providing most of Trotsky's protection is surprising. So is the willingness of well meaning comrades to inform for the GPU. As is the fact that a painter like Sigueros could down his paints to lead an armed raid on the Trotsky compound. Different timesThis book is highly recommended