Cold Feet

Nicholas Mosley

  • The Tragedy of Leon Trotsky by Ronald Segal
    Hutchinson, 445 pp, £12.50

There are still questions of enduring interest that remain to be asked about Trotsky. Why did he not come to power, instead of Stalin, after Lenin’s death in 1924; and if he had, how different would the history of Russia, and of the world, have been? Was there something in his nature, or is there something in the nature of power, that makes it impossible to imagine seriously that he could have assumed this kind of power? Isaac Deutscher’s massive and authoritative biography, written during the 1950s and 1960s, however brilliant, was too scholarly, and too much in the Marxist tradition, to give emphasis to such hypothetical questions. But they perhaps explain why Trotsky is still such a controversial figure today, in the worlds both of fringe politics and of political theory.

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