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Victory in Defeat

Neal Ascherson: Trotsky, 2 December 2004

The Prophet Armed: Trotsky 1879-21 
by Isaac Deutscher.
Verso, 497 pp., £15, December 2003, 1 85984 441 3
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The Prophet Unarmed: Trotsky 1921-29 
by Isaac Deutscher.
Verso, 444 pp., £15, December 2003, 1 85984 446 4
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The Prophet Outcast: Trotsky 1929-40 
by Isaac Deutscher.
Verso, 512 pp., £15, December 2003, 1 85984 451 0
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... Here, a decade ahead of its time, is the language used in fiction by Arthur Koestler or Victor Serge to express the self-abasement of old Bolshevik victims of the Great Purges. The Prophet Armed describes Trotsky’s rise and apogee, from his birth in a Jewish farming family near Odessa to the summit of his power and influence at the end of the ...

Jottings, Scraps and Doodles

Adam Shatz: Lévi-Strauss, 3 November 2011

Claude Levi-Strauss: The Poet in the Laboratory 
by Patrick Wilcken.
Bloomsbury, 375 pp., £30, November 2011, 978 0 7475 8362 2
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... 1941, he boarded the Capitaine Paul-Lemerle along with 350 other ‘undesirables’, among them Victor Serge, who described the ship as ‘a kind of floating concentration camp’. Lévi-Strauss found the ascetic Serge unapproachable, but while docked in Casablanca he struck up a lasting friendship with André ...


Jeremy Harding: My ’68, 19 July 2018

... was different: students were building the ‘invisible international that the great revolutionary Victor Serge wrote of’. Widgery had spotted the promiscuous exchanges of icons and rallying cries going on in the UK that undermined the ‘revolution’ by assimilating it to lifestyle changes. ‘Acid hippies, progressive bohemians and bored pop ...

In Bexhill

Peter Campbell: Unpopular Culture, 5 June 2008

... The pavilion’s architecture is international, the work of two émigrés, Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff. The things in the exhibition – paintings (mainly figurative), documentary photographs and bronze sculptures – like the half-dozen poems printed in the catalogue, represent a specifically English sensibility. Lines from the poems select ...


Perry Anderson: The Fall of France, 2 September 2004

La France qui tombe 
by Nicolas Baverez.
Perrin, 134 pp., €5.50, January 2004, 2 262 02163 5
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La Face cachée du ‘Monde’: Du contre-pouvoir aux abus de pouvoir 
by Pierre Péan and Philippe Cohen.
Mille et Une Nuits, 631 pp., €24, February 2003, 2 84205 756 2
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... The Resistance had saved its honour, and Potsdam its face, but it was a survivor rather than a victor power. Economically, France was still a predominantly rural society, with a per capita income a little over half of the British standard. Sociologically, the peasantry remained by far its largest class: 45 per cent of the population. Politically, the ...

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